Mbabane: It seems there is light at the end of the tunnel for the former Electoral and Border Committee (EBC) members, including former chairman of the committee, Manzini Regional Administrator, Chief Gija Dlamini.
The former committee members were not paid their gratuities after the expiration of their contracts, which started in 2008 and ended in 2019. However, one Ncumbi Maziya, who held the position of deputy commissioner of the commission, and others were paid theirs.
Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg disclosed to Independent News that the former officers would be paid but the delay was that there were many other gratuities the ministry was dealing with. “As said earlier the EBC matter has been tabled before us and the other stakeholders like the AG’s office and the EBC accounts office, and we are working on it to ensure the payment of the former officers,” said the minister. Rijkenberg said it was reasonable that the process is slow due to the many other gratuities being handled but in the end all will be settled.
The minister was coy on how Maziya and others got paid while others were not, saying he deserved the package. “Ncumbi Maziya was qualified for the package,” said the minister without elaborating. According to the Ministry of Finance Communications Officer, Setsabile Dlamini said the reason why officers like Ncumbi Maziya and others were paid before others was the delay in the reappointing of Councils which saw their money being released, adding that gratuities were not released simultaneously but in tranches.
It was reliably gathered that Ncumbi Maziya’s ex-gratia payment of over E600 000 was approved by the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg.
On the other hand, countering the payment of the formers officers is Circular No. 2 of 2017 which provides that an ex gratia payment is payable to parliamentarians and full time Emabandla who are not returning to parliament and, or full time Emabandla or any other political office at the end of their term of office. The ex gratia is a once off payment equal to 12 months (1 year) basic salary before taxation. Maziya was paid his ex-gratia despite being reappointed by the Ingwenyama as a member of the Ludzidzini Royal Council, which seems to be the bone of contention with the other former members calling for the same treatment.
Interviewed earlier, Manzini RA Chief Gija said as former officers they would only heave a sigh of relief after the payments were done, saying the matter relived past hurts but without mentioning them. The Chief said he’d love it if he and his colleagues were paid immediately because anything can happen in this life, adding that personally it’d be great if he enjoyed his package with his children.