Swaziland: Swazis Give Government Poor Marks in Survey

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opinion

The survey revealed that many Swazis also experience frequent water shortages. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they lived without water in their homes - either piped in directly or from a well or borehole on their property - and 29 percent said they seldom have water in their homes, likely because nearby water supplies have dried up.

"That half of Swazis do not have adequate water is surprising because Swaziland's climate is quite rainy most of the year, and the country is crossed by large and small rivers that flow all year round. This is a matter of service delivery. Government is not providing irrigation and water storage facilities," said Amos Ndwandwe, who works with the Ministry of Natural Resources to drill boreholes in rural areas.

Two-thirds of respondents said it was "very difficult" to get water and electricity connected to their homes. But those who had these services said paying for them was also a pressing problem.

Nearly half of those surveyed said their families had gone without an income on one occasion over the past 12 months, and 38 percent said they had gone without an income several times during the past year.

Fifty-six percent of respondents described economic conditions in the country as "very bad", and half considered their own economic situation as "very bad."

Dlamini expressed surprise that this percentage was not higher, considering that two-thirds of Swazis are estimated to live in chronic poverty, existing on less than US$2 per day. "However, the survey was of people's perceptions, and many Swazis are used to the way they have to live," she said.

"In terms of lifestyles, it isn't much different from the way they grew up and their ancestors lived - mud huts without water and sanitation, food security dependant on the rains, and little by way of government services."

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. ]

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