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NO EARLY PAY FOR CIVIL SERVANTS

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MBABANE – Civil servants will not be getting their December salaries early this year.

It had been the norm that government and some companies pay salaries earlier that the normal dates during December and January of every year. Most civil servants expected to start receiving their salaries on Tuesday next week until Friday December 17. The Ministry of Finance yesterday communicated that government experienced system challenges that affected the payment of December salaries of all civil servants early in the country.

The ministry’s communications officer, Setsabile Dlamini, stated that their treasury department encountered delays but they were working around the clock to ensure that salaries were paid not later than December 23, 2022. “We encountered a systems challenge for two weeks, which will make civil servants not to be paid early this month,” she said.

Usually

The officer said all civil servants who are usually paid from the 20th to the 23rd of every month will receive their salaries on December 20. She added that those who were paid on the 30th of every month would receive their salaries on December 23, 2022. She said government accountants were busy processing and ensuring that by December 20, most civil servants would get their salaries.

According to the ministry of finance’s second quarter report, the country has around 44 000 civil servants and a wage bill of E650 million monthly. Worth noting, the country had experienced network failures which interrupted most government operations and was restored on November 14, 2022.The news of the delay of the salaries was not received well by civil servants. Some civil servants voiced out their disappointment in government for not issuing an official notice so that they would prepare themselves for the disappointment.

This means civil servants will not have the luxury to do their Christmas shopping earlier this year, mostly those who expected to use December salaries. Instead, they would be among the crowds who would be doing last-minute shopping during the last days closer to Christmas. The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) Secretary General (SG), Mayibongwe Masangane, said it was disappointing to note that government kept quiet about such a significant issue. “Why has government not communicated the delay?” he wondered.

The SG said in as much as the payment dates were almost around their normal payday, it was disappointing that they would not get their salaries next week though. He said the disappointment came from a place that government had made it a norm that December salaries were paid earlier. He said the developments would affect their budgeting and the entire planning of civil servants.  Masangane said he was hoping that the delay would not affect January salaries.
Meanwhile, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Secretary General, Lot Vilakati, who spoke on behalf of the public sector unions (PSUs) of Swaziland, said government was selfish. He said in as much as they were not entitled to be paid early in December, but government used to religiously do it and they were used to it.

Traffic

Vilakati said it helped civil servants to beat the traffic, which was usually experienced in cities and towns when Christmas was approaching, by buying goodies for their families early and pay school fees on time. He said now that government said it would not be able to pay them early this December, they would not be able to do shopping on time as, for example, schools would close on December 22, 2022 – according to this year’s academic calendar – which is three days before Christmas.

Again, Vilakati said this would affect them negatively as unions because they had employees whom they needed to pay using the subscriptions which government deducted from their salaries. He said it was going to be better if government was going to release the subscriptions immediately so that they could be able to pay the employees.
However, he said they knew that government always delayed to remit the subscriptions and this meant that unions’ workers and their families might have a bleak Christmas.

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