Thursday 2019-08-22

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SNAT, PENSIONERS MARCH OVER PSPF CATEGORISATION

By Mbono Mdluli | 2018-04-18

In an effort to effect a Parliament resolution, SNAT and pensioners delivered petitions to government ministries and parliament to pressurise it to reverse re-categorisation of PSPF.

The delivery of the petitions took place yesterday in Mbabane and Lobamba.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) led the march from Coronation Park, just next to Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS) offices. The marchers did not impress in terms of attendance, as they were approximately 250. The police who were monitoring the march seemed to have out numbered the marchers.

Currently, the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) is under Category A, where it is a public enterprise, which is owned by government.

Previously, it was under Category B, where it was an independent entity. However, government is said to have reversed the categorisation from B to A. The pensioners and public servants want that reversed as they feel their fund is now at risk of being depleted by government. Government used Legal Notice 150 of 2014 to do that. The march started at 10am and proceeded to the ministries of public service and that of finance. After that, the next stop was the Prime Minister Dr.Sibusiso Dlamini and his Cabinet offices and lastly, Parliament. 

The fund was in serious danger  under Category A because government will find it easy to loot the pensioners’ money. They said they wanted to give effect to the resolution passed by Parliament.

The legislators passed the resolution back in 2016 and they called upon the Cabinet to reverse the PSPF from Category A to Category B, where the fund would be independent. However, Cabinet did not implement the resolution. 

The marchers started marching on Msakato Street, just next to the national radio station offices.

 They proceeded to march on Zwide Street, passing through Mahlokohla Street. They finally marched on Makhosikhosi Road, before marching on the road between Swaziland National Fire and Emergency Services (SNFES) and the ministry of agriculture.

That was how they reached the ministries of public service and finance. They continued to the Cabinet offices at Hospital Hill, Mbabane before moving down to Parliament in Lobamba.  In all the places they visited, they delivered their petitions just outside the premises as they would find gates closed. SNAT Board of Trustees (BOT) Secretary Dominick Nxumalo said the reason why they delivered petitions to the four organisations was that they were all affected by the PSPF issue. The ministry of public service was the ministry responsible for PSPF. The finance ministry was the one that facilitated the re-categorisation.  Cabinet took a unilateral decision to re-categorise PSPF without consultations, and Parliament was the one that passed a resolution to order Cabinet to reverse the re-categorisation of the PSPF from Category A to Category B.

 This was after the legislature was convinced that Cabinet implemented the re-categorisation in an illegal way. The marchers gave government until May 31 to work on the issue.

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