At first I thought today’s headline was “124 Fried” and that it meant last night’s impressive electric storm had claimed 124 victims (you may not know that lightening strikes are a leading cause of death here) but once I got the paper I realised 124 people had actually been FIRED. Fired from Unitrans, the company that transports fuel to pumps to be exact.
Seems striking is not something companies take kindly to here. The workers were up in arms over the “behaviour” of one of their managers (we don’t know what he’d done exactly) so they downed tools. Next thing they received their marching orders from the HR manager. The workers then burned down the HR manager’s home and hacked his security guard with knives. And you thought strikes in France were getting rough. The parallels are uncanny. Get this: Swazi petrol pumps too could run dry.
We may not have Sarkozy to thank for the troubles here but someone hasn’t been doing their job. Swaziland’s government has run out of money. Their main source of revenue used to come from the Southern African Customs Union (that’s right, not agriculture, not industry but customs duties) but those funds have run dry. The powers that be (i.e. the King and the PM) are begging the IMF and World Bank for a lifeline so far with little success. What all of this means is that we can expect more strikes. The government has stopped hiring all together and no one is sure how much longer they it can go on paying civil servants. Meanwhile our honourable PM Sibusiso Dlamini again lashed out at the media for spreading lies. Apparently reports in South African paper City Press that the Queen Mother and her entourage had travelled to the Comoros were blatantly untrue – it was the Seychelles. Hey guys, get your facts straight – one luxury destination is not the same as another! That alone warrants bringing back torture as a tried and trusted way of dealing with errant journos (as the PM recently threatened).