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Army to recruit more soldiers

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MBABANE – Individuals wishing to join the army will try their luck this year as the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) is set to conduct a recruitment exercise.

For the past two years, the army has not recruited.
During recruitment by the kingdom’s three security forces, thousands of employed and unemployed Swazis scramble for the vacancies. The Royal Swaziland Police recently sought to recruit 400 people but around 10 000 individuals applied. Swaziland has about 3 000 soldiers.

Although it is not yet known when the army will conduct the recruitment exercise, USDF Public Relations Officer Major Khanya Dlamini said it was definitely on the cards.
“We will be recruiting but no date has been set. It will possibly be this year. But people will know because it will be announced once logistics have been completed. The last recruitment was in 2010,” Dlamini said.

He also could not disclose how many people the army looked at recruiting because that would be determined by government’s financial muscle. “The numbers of recruits differ with every recruitment exercise, depending on whether government can meet the figures that we want.

“Sometimes the figures are high, sometimes they are low, depending on government finances,” Dlamini said. There has been great opposition from political, social and economic commentators regarding the kingdom’s military expenditure, which is viewed as excessive.
The concern has been that the country continues to grow its army yet it was not involved in any war or internal conflict.

Continued growth of the army has led to commentators describing such as militarisation of the country.
In 2011, when the country was facing fiscal challenges, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini told the media that the persistent army recruitment was necessary so that the nation could ‘sleep peacefully at night’.
According to the 2013 Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, Swaziland is ranked 18th in the world in terms of military expenditure.

Accountant General Fanisile Mabila found that the Ministry of Defence, which incorporates the army, overspent by E52 million during the 20011/2012 financial year after it had been allocated a budget of E773 million.

The ministry was among 10 others that overspent.

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