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South Africa comes to Swaziland’s rescue

THANKFUL: King Mswati

SOUTH AFRICA has agreed to a 2.4bn rand (£218m) loan to help neighbouring Swaziland, currently struggling with a cash crisis.

Swaziland’s King Mswati, who has been accused of living in luxury with his 13 wives while most of his people languish in poverty, made the announcement upon his return from South Africa.

“We are thankful and also appreciate the assistance we have received from South Africa. This shows that they are good neighbours,” he said.

The South African opposition had earlier rejected the loan request calling the tiny country an “undemocratic state.”

Despite the domestic opposition, South African officials have said that assisting Swaziland would help bring stability to that country and the region.

Swaziland is part of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and its currency, the lilangeni, is pegged to the rand.

Its financial crisis was partly caused by a sharp decline in income from SACU.

The financial crisis has sparked a series of demonstrations in Swaziland, demanding reforms, including the ending of a ban on political parties.

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