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Corruption in Swaziland leaves those in need vulnerable

Social service programs in Swaziland that support orphans, seniors and the disabled may be cut, as years of corruption have caused world aid and humanitarian groups to reconsider their support in the country, IRIN reports.

The governmental assistance program was put in place to help provide children with funding to go to primary schools, and has since expanded to helping those who can no loner work due to age or disability. Swaziland has been dependent on donor aid for years, though they hit especially hard times when funding from the Southern Africa Customs Union dried up in 2008. However, financial minister Majozi Sithole recently reported that years of government corruption stole more than twice the amount of money budgeted for social services, leaving those who need it the most with nothing.

The government was supposedly able to control funds by only giving out pensions to citizens who had bank accounts. Though now, even those with bank accounts haven't received government aid in more than three months.

"Whether they have accounts or not, no pensioner has received any money from government in three months," Amos Zwane, president of the Swaziland Old Age Society, told the publication. "We go to the collection points, but there is nothing. There is no explanation."

Most recently a $350 million bailout package has been put together, though international finance institutions have declined to lend unless the country restructures its finances. According to the publication, government officials have shown little interest in following the demands.
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