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MBABANE – If you are a civil servant and still owe government, forget about running for elections, unless you make a convincing commitment to pay back the money.
This message has been directed to all civil servants who wish to stand for the national elections for the 11th Parliament.

According to the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Evart Madlopha, owing civil servants include those who secured study loans, car loans, advanced loans, among other loans from government.


He said the recovery of the loans would help the country to provide services to the nation.
Asked about the deadline to make the commitments, Madlopha said it would be wise for the aspiring candidates to make the commitments before they were nominated at their various royal kraals, since dates were already known to the public.

He said government was alive to the fact that some civil servants owed huge amounts which they could not be in a position to pay before the start of the elections.
Madlopha mentioned that it was for that reason that the civil servants were given the option to make the commitments if they had difficulties in settling their loans.
Asked about the number of civil servants who had shown interest in joining the elections, Madlopha revealed that there were many employees who had shown an interest in joining the elections this year.

“We received many applications from the interested candidates even before the elections were talked about. We hope to receive more applications for leave of absence since many people want to try their luck,” he said.
The PS was interviewed after Sabelo Mavuso, the Human Resource Officer under the Terms and Condition Department, sent the message to civil servants during the national radio programme ‘Letishisako’ yesterday morning.
Mavuso reminded civil servants that whenever they join elections, they should be prepared to contribute 20 per cent to the Swaziland National Provident Fund, as their employer would not be making contributions during their leave of absence.  He urged the aspiring candidates to submit their applications for leave of absence on time, in order to avoid inconveniences while preparing for the elections.

Mavuso advised those who would not be successful in the elections to indicate to their employer as the terms and conditions allow them to return to work.
He said the conditions also allow those who would be successful during elections to return to work after five years if they were interested. However, he said they would assume the same positions.

The President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Aubrey Sibiya, said the union viewed the stance that was taken by government as oppressive to civil servants.Sibiya said as far as the union was concerned, civil servants should be allowed to take part in the election, without being forced to make the so-called convincing commitment to their employer.

He stated that government should not view things as if the aspiring candidates were joining the elections to generate money.
“Where would they get the money because they should be sure that they will fulfil their promises before they could even make the commitment? What difference does it make if civil servants join the elections and become parliamentarians?” he questioned.

The unionist said as far as NAPSAWU was concerned, parliamentarians and civil servants were benefiting from one source, which was why they believed that government should continue to deduct the loans without forcing people to make commitments.

He said even though they were made to believe that there was a difference between civil servants and politicians after winning elections the union was cognisant of the fact that there was no difference at all. “When civil servants get salary reviews, the so-called politicians also benefit, which is an indication that we serve one government. The only difference is that the politicians benefit more than the civil servants,” he said.

Sibiya said even the union was not encouraging elections; they believed that all people should exercise their right without being hindered.

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