- We, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), the Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA) and the National Public Services and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) as worker organisations for over 25 000 workers under the employ of the Government of Swaziland have been engaging with our employer on the Cost of Living Adjustment [CoLA] for the last two (2) financial years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 in vain, doing so whilst united in consciousness in pursuit of workers’ rights. To this end therefore, we;
- Acknowledge the indisputable fact that our members are now living far below the normal breadline since the Government has dismally failed to adjust our salaries for two consecutive financial years, resulting to a 14.4 % salary deduction.
- Mindful of the lavish government spending on non-priority and capital projects such as the construction of the International Convention Centre [ICC], funding of festivities such as the Umhlanga Reed Dance, 50/50 celebrations for the King’s Birthday and Independence Day Celebrations and catering for huge delegations to international trips.
III. Inspired by past practice and logic that even though cash liquidity problems can be sung nicely by those responsible for the public purse, workers’ salaries such as the Cost of Living Adjustment have always been a priority, rightfully so, in order to stimulate economic growth by pumping money to workers for same to be circulated in the economy.
- Convinced that, in this country of our forefathers, money is in abundance since there has never been a suspension or cutting on spending for cultural events, delegations and spending on vanity capital projects as highlighted above.
From the afore-going, we therefore;
Declare that should the Government of Swaziland fail to table a proposed and improved salary adjustment by the 27th of January 2019, all the Government systems shall be brought to a complete halt on the 28th of January 2019 as workers would be having zero motivation to go to work.
- Attendant problems of the government’s fiscal ill-discipline
As a result of the fiscal ill-discipline on the part of Government, the following societal problems have reared their ugly heads.
- Shortage of drugs and other materials in public clinics, health centres and hospitals
- Stagnant Orphaned and Vulnerable Children [OVC] fees that are paid to schools, thereby rendering schools ungovernable
- Non repairing of public roads, in the midst of the heavy rains that have swept across the country in recent times
- Ever swelling public debt as Government fails to pay her suppliers
- Non delivery of basic services to the populace such as safe drinking water and expansion of the rural electrification project
- Cessation of the construction and upgrading of essential public roads such as the Sicunusa-Nhlangano road
- Underdevelopment of rural agriculture through the Rural
- Development Areas Programme – the mainstay of our economy
- Lack of funding for the Small and Medium Enterprises [SMEs]
- Non improvement of the 63% poverty level in the country
- Shrinking scholarships for our children who have enrolled in tertiary education
- Proposal of high taxes to fund the country’s deficit
- Non remittance of monies to the Public Service Pensions Fund – A retirement fund for Public Servants.
Whilst these problems are deepening in our society, the Government has continued to;
- Increase the budget for the state security organs which are the army, police and correctional services
- Unrelentingly increased recruitment in the aforementioned departments
- Drastically decrease recruitment in other significant departments such as Education, Health and Public Service
- Maintain the high numbers of the delegations that go abroad
- Maintain the high taxes on salaries and tariffs on utilities
- Increase funding of state events as it was witnessed during the 50/50 celebrations, Umhlanga and Incwala.
- Spend over E40 million in fuelling cars, paying for allowances and providing daily meals for the members of the Royal Police Service [RSP] who were dispatched to various schools around the country from October 2018 to run external examinations.
As the Public Sector Unions in the country, we will be engaging on a national strike from 28 January 2019 and as such we call upon every concerned Swazi, from all walks of life, who associates with the problems that were highlighted above to partake in this National activity.
All Government systems shall be down during these days. These include Government offices, Ministries, departments, schools, clinics, healthcentres and hospitals, transport department and many others. Let us ALL stand up and be counted in this imperative exercise of making the Government of Swaziland to be accountable to the people. Now is the Time!!!!
Let us be united in consciousness as a people. Both the country and the future belongs to all of us, both great and small. Let us shape our destiny..!!
Unity of purpose, a force unparalleled!!!
Issued By: Public Sector Associations of Swaziland [PSAS] Secretariat
21 January 2019