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WHY are Swazis being taken for granted? Is it because they are peaceful people who, even when oppressed, try to endure that oppression because they love peace? I have noticed that workers in the Ministry of Works are making a killing by making communities pay for their gravel roads to be maintained. What troubles me even more is that a Member of Parliament has urged his community to contribute an exorbitant amount of money so that it is given to a worker to assist with the road.

Is it not the tax that we fork out that is supposed to maintain the road? I blame the entire government for this because they opened the opportunity for such to happen as it started earnestly when government said it had the machinery but no money for fuel.
We now have a budget that has been delivered and it is the turn for Parliament to discuss it. Parliament is already up in arms castigating the minister of Finance.

This is a good move by our parliamentarians as it is their duty to discuss the budget and have it passed. But the question that I have is; have they consulted the people they are representing before going into the budget? What is the feeling of the general population with regard to the budget?

I am not saying parliamentarians are wrong with what they are doing but they need to have a mandate from the people who elected them. In other words, the budgeting process should not be a prerogative of a few yet the money they are budgeting on is the contribution from all living in the country.

And with what we experienced last year, with this jelly-spine Parliament, I think they are just playing to the gallery with what they are doing as they are going to pass the budget as they did last year. I just do not trust them on this because they showed us their true colours last year. I congratulated them from waking up from their slumber only to eat humble pie later.

In my opinion, so far the most contentious issue is the levy on electricity. This is a sensitive issue and it seems Swazis are being robbed. I am not happy with the tricks that are played by the very company that provides this service. The Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) is a government owned company and makes money for government.

The company should stop fooling Swazis that they care about them yet they do not. If it cared it would not have requested an exorbitant increment just last year and then blame its mother now. We are speaking about an unheard of increment of 30 per cent just last year. True it was staggered but it is still an exorbitant increment. I am talking about the company’s vampire teeth waiting to strike at Swazis in April and now it is pretending as if it cares. SEC declares profits to government every year but it still wants huge increments and it is now acting as if it cares. It should not effect the increment this year for us to see that it cares about its customers. Or else reduce it so that they share the increase of the levy; after all the money goes to the same government. I hope parliamentarians will fight this one as it is their campaigning tool that they will provide electricity for all.

Another issue that worries me, and again I feel we are being robbed, is the one per cent increment on Value Added Tax. Government said it would create work for the employees of the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) and therefore it felt it should be equal to that in South Africa. But the earning capacity of Swazis is far less than that of South Africans. An example is that of the social grants where a South African getting the grant can pay a Swazi three months’ worth of the grant Swazis get with just a single month’s grant.

So the cushion therein is just too great. Further the employees of SRA are being paid with our tax money for doing work. If government is saying they do not want to create work for them then it means we are being robbed because we are paying them for not doing enough.

This looked at properly, vis-a vis that SRA refused to grant them increment, it means SRA can afford to employ more people because it will now be collecting a per cent more. This will reduce the work load that government fears that the employees will have at the same time provide employment opportunities to more Swazis who will be robbed by these taxes. Now I know what they mean when they say ‘born free but taxed to death.’

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: Feeding prisoners
Are you also of the view that prisoners should not be fed meat and bread?