Mbabane – It makes sense why aspiring MPs fight tooth and nail for parliamentary seats in the kingdom of Eswatini.
Over the period of five years, which equates to a parliamentary term, a Member of Parliament is set to earn over E3 million -atleast according to Circular No 2 of 2023.
According to the Circular, the salaries of all parliamentarians, designated office bearers and the Attorney General will continue to be linked to those of the civil service through the secretary to cabinet for the duration of the 12th parliament.
Designated office bearers refer to Regional Administrators, Indvuna yenkhundla and Bucopho.
The salary of the Secretary to Cabinet and the Head of the Public Service will continue to be used as base, placing the basic salary of the Prime Minister at E50% above that of the secretary to cabinet.
“All other parliamentarians, designated office bearers and the Attorney General shall be determined as ratio of the Prime Minister. The salaries of parliamentarians will continue to be linked to those of civil servants, considering that all arms of government should work together to drive government’s strategy for development.”
The attendance at official parliamentary activities is regulated by the presiding officer of each chamber of parliament. A member’s absence from parliament during a parliamentary session, other than a formal recess for more than five days in any calendar month, without authority will result in deduction of the salary of that member by the number of days absent.
On another not, parliamentarians are also medically covered. However, the medical aid will be provided through a contributory medical aid scheme as a condition of service for all parliamentarians, designated office bearers and the Attorney General not unless the member is covered by a spouse or child.
“The contribution rates are recommended at 67% for the employer (government) and 33% for the member. This is not only in line with best practice, but also makes this condition of tax compliance.
For the 12th parliament, the government of Eswatini will pay Bucopho E84 000 for merely holding meetings.
For every meeting that Bucopho attends, which the government limits to only four a month, he or she will receive E350 handshake.
However, The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and the Regional Administrators are not entitled to sitting allowances.
In the case of the Deputy Presiding Officer and a Member of Parliament, a sitting allowance will only be paid for attending a properly constituted sitting in terms of the parliament standing orders governing both the chambers of parliament.
Sitting allowances are paid to parliamentarians and the designated offices bearers for participating in official parliament business.
Should MPs who neglect their constituencies after assuming office be seen as defrauding government?
Quite a number of times communities have complained about their Members of Parliament disappearing on them few months after winning elections. In view of the fact that they get paid to frequently visit their constituency centres, it becomes clear that some are indirectly stealing taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.
It is for that reason that we have heard countless calls to recall politicians who fail to deliver even before the end of their term of office.
His Majesty the King Mswati III’s government gives Members of Parliament a monthly constituency allowance apart from their salary.
The allowance is equal to 12.5% of a Member of Parliament’s basic salary and is not only to the MP alone, but to the Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho.
“Parliamentarians, Tindvuna Tetinkhundla and Bucopho have a duty to hold consultations with Emaswati in their Tinkhundla, Imiphakatsi and other forums to enquire about the difficulties and aspirations of the people and recommend to the government and other agencies.”
In terms of the constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom is divided into four regions and each region is divided into as many Tinkhundla as may be recommended by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC)
While former Prime Ministers have enjoyed staying in their residences, Circular No2 of 2023 has an uphill obligation.
In line with global practices, the government of Eswatini shall provide official residences to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Regional Administrator.
“Where an official government residence is provided, it will be mandatory that the political office bearers occupy the government residence. Moreover, it will be important that the RA be provided with an official residence and reside in the region in which he or she assigned.”
In the event there is no readily available accomodation for the PM, DPM and RA, the government shall provide a framework for providing accommodation. The framework will facilitate the construction of a government owned accommodation in readiness for the 13th parliament.
“In these cases, where accommodation is not readily available, these political office bearers can designate a privately owned residence for use as an official residence when taking up office. A housing allowance will be paid in the interim.
Ministers may also be provided with government houses and when such applies, a housing allowance will not be paid.