IMF also said REMOVE Circular No.1'
MANZINI - The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) has alleged that the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini was being selective in implementing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations.
This, after government announced that the IMF had advised that they cut down the number of civil servants or else the country’s economic problems will worsen resulting in the economy declining rapidly to the point that world banks and other countries will not give it loans.
Speaking during a mass meeting for the nurses yesterday, SWADNU President Bheki Mamba said to the best of his knowledge, when the IMF comes to the country for assessments, they assesses the economic situation, consult with Cabinet, consult with workers to give them the feedback of assessments and then gives recommendations. "IMF assessed the situation in Swaziland and advised government to decrease the number of ministries the country has so as to save money. IMF further advised government to remove the infamous Circular No.1 and save E60 million a month as well as for Tibiyo TakaNgwane to be taxed," he said.
Mamba added that when the Prime Minister called for the review of Circular No.1 he was allegedly trying to heed the IMF warnings even though the Circular still stands.
He said government made no attempt to decrease the number of ministries in the country even though it was warned against ignoring the warnings as that could lead to the country being unable to afford health care, managing public works and paying for primary education soon.
"Cutting salaries is not the solution and it will never be the solution. Rather, it will be the outcome if government does not heed IMF’s advise and remove Circular No.1, decrease the number of ministries and tax Tibiyo," he stressed.
In earlier reports, the Prime Minister when returning from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he represented His Majesty King Mswati III at the African Union Summit had said government had to heed warnings from IMF to contain the country’s wage bill.
"Swaziland needs help from other countries and organisations to survive. If we do not take advice from IMF then we are saying we do not need them," said the Premier. Mamba was speaking during a meeting held at the Greater Alpha in Manzini where 1 300 nurses came in numbers.
We’re prepared to die - nurses
MANZINI - The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) has revealed that the nurses are prepared to go to jail, starve or even die for the 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment they are currently in a battle with government for.
This was revealed during their mass meeting at Greater Alpha in Manzini yesterday. The nurses came out in full force to the meeting and before the meeting started, singing and dancing was the order of the day.
"At this point, everyone is shaking. Everyone is scared. We are at crossroads and we need to stick closer than ever. Government is shaking to the core and so are the cops.
"This means we will soon succeed in our quest," said SWADNU President Bheki Mamba. Mamba further said at the point they are at now, they have no patience for those who are scared.
He said people should stop being scared and take to the streets to fight for what they deserve which is a 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment.
Adding he said they are all prepared to go to jail if need be and if circumstances called for it. He said they will fight till the very end for government to attend to their demands.
He said even if their meeting was considered as contempt, they will keep meeting and striking until their demands have been met.
"As for the court ordering us to go back to work, I just do not see that happening. How can they even suggest that? What are we supposed to do, go back to the table as unions and withdraw our demands? Should we take them back? That will not happen, we would rather go to jail," said Mamba.
Another SWADNU member who did not wish to be named said even if they cut down their salaries to cents, they will not give up but will soldier on.
He said it is becomes darker when sunrise is looming, thus even if things do not look very promising right now the end of the tunnel is near.
‘Some nurses betraying fight’
MANZINI - Regional chairpersons for the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) revealed that some of the nurses back in their regions were ‘betraying’ SWADNU by refusing to join in the fight and going to work instead.
Sebenzile Thwala, chairperson of the Shiselweni region said she would gauge the Wednesday strike which was supposed to see all hospitals closing down to be about 60-70 per cent effective.
She said most of the nurses were intimidated by the managers and matrons and they ended up going to work for the whole of Wednesday.
"At Hlatikhulu Government Hospital, the strike was 98 per cent effective. The Out-Patient Department was non-operational. The wards were taken over by managers and contract nurses were recalled to take over the wards. Well done to the Hlatsi nurses for the solidarity they showed by abandoning hospitals and clinics," she said much to the applause of the nurses.
She added that at Nhlangano health centre the Correctional services health workers took over the centre and attended to patients. She praised Mafutseni Health Centre for effecting the strike 100 per cent as no nurses were found to be at work on Wednesday in honour of the resolution for a total shutdown of all hospitals.
The SWADNU Chairperson of the Manzini region, Calvin Dlamini who works for the Psychiatrist Hospital, said at Mankayane Government Hospital, only one nurse decided to betray SWADNU and the strike by working alone.
He said the SWADNU leadership will speak to the person in question.
He also said the clinics in Manzini, especially Zombodze Clinic, ‘excelled’ as none of them were operational.
"At the TB Centre, on Wednesday morning to noon our comrades were not working, but by evening, some had already returned.
On Thursday everyone was working, they all got scared," reported Dlamini.
Upon hearing this, the whole house started chanting the slogan ‘phansi nge-TB center phansi…!’ much to the embarrassment of some TB center nurses who were present.
SWADNU President, Bheki Mamba, condemned what the nurses in question did. He emphasised on the importance of being in solidarity at this time.
"Together as one, the government will have no choice but to give in to our demands, but if some of our own colleagues betray us and go against the resolutions we all took, then they are isolating themselves from this union, which is not good," he said.
... Hospitals to remain closed
MANZINI - Nurses have resolved that they will keep all hospitals in total shutdown for their demands to be looked into promptly.
They made it clear that people who are sick in hospitals will unfortunately have to suffer the wrath of ‘wafa wafa’ which they said still stands and will stand until their demands are looked into.
"Look at us, we are hungry. We are starving. We have not been living, we have been surviving. And the government added even more to our woes by introducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) and now all we are left with are crumbs. How can we survive on crumps?" asked Nathi Kunene, Secretary General of SWADNU. He further made it clear that they are not greedy but hungry and need the 4.5 per cent adjustment.
Kunene further chanted ‘phansi ngemaphoyisa phansi’ as he related how police harassed and intimidate their comrades who he named as Bongani Jele and Bonsile Jele from RFM.
"We will not be discouraged. We will keep fighting, police should just stop harassing us and allow us to exercise our rights," he said.
Zambian, South African nurses pledge support
MANZINI – Nurses from Zambia and South Africa have pledged their support and solidarity to the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU).
This was made known by SWADNU President Bheki Mamba when delivering his remarks yesterday.
"Our comrades from Zambia and South Africa have pledged their support to us, we are not alone.
They heard of our fight and have since alerted us that we have their support and they are in solidarity with us," he said.
A copy of an email from the Zambian Union of Nurses’ Organisation (ZANU) said as a union, they shall continue to support and be in solidarity with SWADNU and assure them of their support.
The Democratic Nurses Union of South Africa (DENUSA) also pledged its support to SWADNU in an email sent to President Bheki Mamba.
"We would like to convey a message of solidarity for our colleagues in Swaziland.
"We are aware of their plight and their fight and we stand by them," reads part of the message. Mamba elaborated that they were not alone in this fight as their colleagues from neighbouring countries were with them in spirit.
He urged the nurses to keep fighting and not lose hope.
If I see that my pride is too big 4 me 2 swallow I break it in2 pieces so dat I can swallow it bit by bit...I wuld lyk 2 suggest this 2 our government. How can u refuse wit 4.5 when there ar 3 taxes in ones salary?
July 21, 2012, 9:00 AM, S. Simelane (26876494328)
Government seems not to worry on what is happening.The government should know that our country will not receive any loan from now onwards.This is because of their useless circular no1.
July 21, 2012, 9:00 AM, cmiso (email@example.com)
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