Swaziland's Police Commissioner, Isaac Magagula, is backtracking on his announcement that junior officers would get a 30 percent pay rise.
Public sector unions, including teachers and nurses, were outraged because they had been told by the Government their pay would be frozen because of the economic crisis gripping the kingdom. Union leaders predicted the huge pay rise for police, couple with nothing for other public servants, would create unrest.
The Times of Swaziland reported that when Magagula made his announcement at a meeting with police officers, 'Overjoyed police officers clapped their hands and screamed when the commissioner made the announcement.'
The Times, in an editorial comment, said, 'The message being sent by government to the ordinary Swazi on the street is that the government is hiring more officers to put down dissent, paying them comparatively well to ensure their loyalty.'
Now, the police commissioner has told local media that no pay rise for the junior police (constables and sergeants) has been agreed. He told local media that the issue of a pay rise was still being considered by government.