S.Africa bailout loan to Swaziland to start in Sept


South Africa is scheduled to release in September the first tranche of a 2.4 billion rand bailout to Swaziland, Africa’s last monarchy, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in parliamentary documents released.

The first tranche of three equal payments will be 800 million rand and subject to Swaziland meeting certain fiscal and technical conditions, Gordhan said in response to written questions.

The loan was negotiated a year ago when Swaziland’s government was battling a funding crisis caused by a slump in revenues from a regional customs union that usually accounted for two-thirds of its income, Reuters reports.

However, the loan was not immediately signed by Swaziland because of its objections to Pretoria’s conditions on political and economic reforms in the land-locked southern African kingdom, where political parties are banned.

Gordhan said Swaziland will repay the loan over a five year period, starting in 2015, by means of a debit order placed on their revenue shares from the Southern African Customs Union.

Swazi King Mswati III, who has at least a dozen wives and a personal fortune estimated at $200 million, faced unprecedented protests 18 months ago when his appointed administration ran out of money after a 2009 recession in neighbouring South Africa.