About 9,000 people in Swaziland (eSwatini) are about to lose their jobs because of the coronavirus lockdown in the kingdom.
Labour Commissioner Mthunzi Shabangu said that 57 companies had applied to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for permission to lay-off the workers.
He said, 'It is evident that more people are yet to lose their jobs, because we have been receiving requests through and through.'
By law the companies are required to get permission from the ministry to lay-off workers but Shabangu told the eSwatini Observer that some had done so without notification.
The lay-offs are considered temporary for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis but there is no guarantee that workers will get their jobs back. The workers will receive no wages during the lay-offs.
Meanwhile Swazi senators in the portfolio committee complained that a E90 million (US$5.3 million) relief fund set up to give assistance during the coronavirus lockdown was not helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
They asked for a meeting with key ministries, including finance, labour and social security, housing and urban development and commerce, industry and trade to discuss possible solutions.
Director of MSME Mluleki Dlamini presented senators with a proposed model for MSME Finance Relief which he said was currently being developed by government.
Elsewhere, the Swazi Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade has closed 52 businesses for failure to observe the partial lockdown regulations. The lockdown began on 27 March 2020.
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo said in a statement that some companies deliberately contravened the measures. These included not having protective clothing or sanitisers.