Durban - South Africa’s R2.4 billion bailout of Swaziland seems to be off the table - at least for now.
The monarchy had failed to meet certain requirements and regulatory reforms, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday. No funds had been transferred to the country to date.
South Africa had agreed to a R2.4bn loan to help Swaziland cope with a cash crisis in 2011, but insisted on political and economic reforms.
DA National Council of Provinces member Alf Lees had asked Gordhan whether any money had been paid to the Swaziland government with regard to the proposed loan.
“Swaziland approached the Republic of South Africa for financial assistance which was required as a result of the impact of the global economic downturn on the kingdom during the 2011/12 financial year,” said Gordhan. A memorandum of understanding was negotiated following a decision to grant a loan from the South African Reserve Bank to the Central Bank of Swaziland.
“No funds have been transferred to date. The loan was intended to come to Swaziland’s aid and to assist the country with financial management.
“The memorandum addressed fiscal policy, public financial management procedures and practices, legal frameworks and related rules that govern financial management,” he said.
The measures had been designed to help guide Swaziland to a position of financial health, Gordhan added.
“While officials from the respective finance ministries engaged on the various confidence-building measures, negotiations around a financial conditions agreement, which included the respective milestones and time frames for the implementation of fiscal and regulatory reforms, were never concluded,” he said.
The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa and Cosatu expressed concern about the government’s consideration of the loan.