Parliamentary Question: Presidency: Swaziland


7. Mr M P Sibande (African National Congress (ANC) -Mpumalanga) to ask the Deputy President:
1. What is the government’s foreign policy position regarding (a) political developments in Swaziland (details furnished) and (b) the new Swaziland Constitution that was endorsed by the European Union (details furnished);

2.whether Swaziland has stipulated what the loan by South Africa will be used for; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
3. whether South Africa has attached any conditions to the granting of the loan to Swaziland to ensure that it is not used to (a) suppress political activities and (b) fund the lavish lives of (i) politicians and (ii) the monarch; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
4. what has South Africa considered to achieve in granting such a loan under the current political conditions in Swaziland? CO34E

1. Honourable Mr Sibande, let me start by quoting from the United Nations Declaration on Principles of International Law of 24 October 1970 which states the following: “All states enjoy sovereign equality. They have equal rights and duties and are equal members of the international community, notwithstanding differences of an economic, social, political and other nature.

In particular sovereign equality includes the following elements:
a. States are judicially equal;
b. Each State enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty;
c. Each State has the duty to respect the personality of the other States;
d. The territorial integrity and political independence of the State are inviolable;
e. Each State has the right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems;
f. Each State has the duty to comply fully and in good faith with its international obligations strictly and to live in peace with other States.”

It is therefore important that all of us are familiar with these principles that are the basis of South Africa’s constitution and foreign policy.

Furthermore, Swaziland was a member of the African Union (the former Organisation of African Unity) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) (the former Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference) long before we established a free and democratic South Africa in 1994. At the same time she is a founding member of Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), the oldest existing customs union in the world that was established in 1910.

Let me also recall that SADC’s vision “is one of a common future, within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice; peace and security for the peoples of Southern Africa.

This shared vision is anchored on the common values and principles and the historical and cultural affinities that exist amongst the peoples of Southern Africa.”

Honourable Members, our bilateral and other relations with Swaziland are basically informed by these factors.
2. Swaziland was facing a severe cash crisis. Therefore the main reason for this loan is to help it through this budget predicament. Our financial and technical assistance to the Kingdom of Swaziland is aimed at preventing what is essentially at the moment a cash-flow crisis, from becoming a financial and economic crisis.
3. South Africa’s loan will be offered in three instalments to be transferred to the Central Bank of Swaziland. The first instalment will be given immediately after the signing of agreements. The next equal payments will follow in October and in February next year.

Under the loan’s terms, Swaziland must protect the peg between the liLangeni, the kingdom’s currency, and the South African Rand. It must also strengthen financial reporting and auditing of its accounts. In other words Swaziland must implement both governance and fiscal reforms.

But most importantly it must increase dialogue with the Swazi people. The terms of the agreement include that the government of Swaziland meet the following objectives: promote economic and social development, democracy, human rights and good governance.

Swaziland must also comply with the fiscal reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These will be monitored by a task team from the World Bank, the IMF, the South African National Treasury and the African Development Bank.

It was also agreed that South Africa will also work with Swaziland to build governance and fiscal capacity.
4. The promotion of political and economic integration of the continent continues to drive the African Agenda. As such, a commitment exists to provide impetus to this objective which is rooted in the need to strengthen Africa’s political, economic and social development as well as its peace and security agenda.

The South African government has committed to a deepened contribution to regional and continental security and stability and sustainable development. Within this context, strengthening regional integration in SACU and SADC remains a major priority that will contribute to the sustained integration of the region into the global economy.

South Africa places particular emphasis on political cohesion, economic integration and the building of efficient and responsive economic infrastructure.

I thank you.