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MANZINI – Civil servants partaking in the ongoing general elections exercise and who eventually win in the political positions, will now be paid up until they are sworn in.

This is contrary to the communication they had received leading to the two-day nomination phase of the elections, wherein they were informed that they would cease to earn a salary up until they resumed their positions within the civil service, provided their quest fell through. In one of the letters, which had been seen by this publication’s reporter earlier, some civil servants who were granted the leave of absence to contest the elections were advised that their leave of absence would be without pay. It was stated that this would be for the duration of the elections process as well as the duration of the 12th Parliament, in the event they were successful in the elections. “Your unpaid leave of absence takes effect from July 22, 2023 (first day of nominations),” reads in part the initial letter, which was granted to the public service employees.


They were informed that in the event they were not successful in the elections, their leave of absence shall automatically come to an end from the date of losing the elections. However, government has since reviewed this position and aligned it with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Act No. 001, 2005, according to the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Public Service, Sipho Tsabedze. The PS said this after this publication sought to confirm if indeed government had altered the rules of the game as some civil servants had already indicated that they were cancelling their withdrawals in partaking in the elections. Also, this publication had seen communication shared with some of the civil servants informing them that their request for leave was granted in terms of Paragraph 9(2) of the Introductory Chapter of General Orders. They were informed that in the event they were successful in the elections, their leave of absence shall be without pay and would take effect from the date of commencement of the 12th Parliament until its dissolution.


The communication extended to the civil servants further said: “If necessary, you may apply for annual leave to your Head of Department cover any particular days during the elections process, where your physical attendance may be required, such as during the period of elections campaigns.” They were informed that the guidelines for officers proceeding on leave of absence for purposes of contesting general elections shall apply mutatis mutandis. Furthermore, they were informed that if they were entrusted with government property, they were required to surrender same to their head of department before proceeding to their leave of absence. “At no point are you expected to use government property for purposes of advancing your elections campaign during the elections period,” reads the letter. In light of this communication, Tsabedze said government had reviewed the regulations to align them with the Constitution. He said it had been discovered that this had been an unfair practice as the other contestants, who include the outgoing Parliament, would be remunerated while civil servants were not.