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TROUBLESOME ISSUES FOR ESWATINI

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Sir,

When leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meet on issues of peace and security in member States and reports are delivered about the status quo of the troubled nations, you always wish that your own country never degenerates to the level of needing to be pushed to do what is right. The common trait with all these issues is the conflict that arises when the people become unhappy with the way they are being governed by those they elected to power. This extends to extremely violent levels of silencing the vocals.

Decisions

The country finds itself in a precarious economic position because of poor decisions affecting our economy and everybody sees the need to get our house in order. We need to change how we provide service delivery. We need more accountability in the use of taxpayers’ money. We need to see those entrusted with positions of authority being taken to task for violating procedures. We need to see a change in the awarding of tenders. How can we have a national celebration where people were handpicked to provide services instead of going the tender route? This opens the door wide open for corruption. We need to change the view that job creation is about bulging the civil service wage bill with annual recruitment in the security forces. Job creation is for the private sector. For this to be realised, we need to change how the country does business. Our economy is in the red but the policies we have in place are designed to put out more red tape rather than roll out a red carpet for investors.

Change

We need to change our retrogressive taxation, which is targeted at making the people poorer. Government should be working towards lowering the cost of doing business to encourage the growth of SME and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from which quality jobs and increased tax revenue could be derived. We need to discourage ‘tenderpreneurship’. We need to change the way we develop the national budget. It is pretty evident that this has become the prerogative of Cabinet. The end result has always been misguided priorities and poor allocation of resources. This has resulted in chronic shortages of essential medical supplies and health services, poor or insufficient provision of agricultural services, inadequate funding of our education system causing a serious decline of quality and standards.  

We need to revisit the number of parastatals we have. The minister of Finance is on record saying there are one too many. All the above issues are nothing new but so long as they keep appearing in newspapers as troublesome issues for the country, it can only mean nothing has changed. If things don’t change, then we run the risk of testing the tolerance limits of the people. The trouble with that approach is that there is never a warning as to when the tolerance bubble will burst. We would hate for that to happen only to find ourselves ‘governed’ by SADC.

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