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MANZINI – A faction of HMCS officers, especially the junior ones, are up in arms over contributions towards ceremonies, which have become a ‘norm’ in the organisation.

The enraged officers of His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) raised their concern after they were informed that, once again, the Office of the Commissioner General had issued an order that they should make contributions towards buying 51st birthday gifts for His Majesty King III, who is the Commissioner General In-Chief of HMCS.

According to insiders, a memorandum reminding all officers that His Majesty would be celebrating his 51st birthday on April 19, 2019, was posted in the various Correctional facilities around the country last Friday.
 “As such, officers, as per the customary practice, are encouraged to make contributions towards the gifts of the Commissioner General In-Chief of HMCS,” reads part of the memorandum which was seen by this reporter.

In the memorandum, the Office of the Commissioner General started by appreciating the positive response which was said to have been shown by all officers towards the 50/50 golden jubilee celebration. The golden jubilee was celebrated last year on April 19 at Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre.

According to the memorandum, the contributions from staff members, including officers and administrators, range between E15 and E1 400. For example, support staff and trainees are supposed to contribute E15 and E30, respectively, while warders/wardresses and their instructors are expected to put in E50.

On the other hand, sergeants and their instructors will pay E100 while from assistant chief officers to the position of the commissioner general, the amount ranges between E120 and E1 400.
Some of the interviewed officers, who asked to remain anonymous because they feared being victimised, claimed that even though the memorandum sounded as a plea, they knew that it was an order. They alleged that any officer who might fail to make the contributions, would be victimised in different ways, including having leave applications being rejected.

“This is a coercive plea. To prove that, if you ask someone to make a contribution, you do not set the amount, it comes from one’s heart,” they said.
They alleged that their main concern, which they clearly stated they could not convey to their superiors because of the alleged victimisation fears, was that they were literally broke.
The officers alleged that there were two main reasons behind their current financial situation; being allegedly left out when the 2014 salary increment was implemented and not getting a cost-of-living-adjustment (CoLA) in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.

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