Swaziland says loan from S.Africa "not working out"

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A 2.4 billion rand ($280
million) loan that South Africa agreed to extend to Swaziland
has hit a snag but the landlocked kingdom, Africa's last
absolute monarchy, can survive without it, its finance minister
said on Tuesday.

The loan was agreed in 2011 as Swaziland grappled with an
acute funding crisis. South Africa was due to release the first
tranche of the bailout last year but the money never

"It would seem that it's not working out," Finance Minister
Majozi Sithole told Reuters in Johannesburg, citing additional
conditions set by South Africa.

"If we can't get it because of any complications it's not a
train smash for Swaziland. We will live without it."

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told
parliament in August that Pretoria would release the first 800
million rand subject to its tiny neighbour meeting certain
fiscal and technical conditions.

The deal had initially hit problems when Swaziland objected
to Pretoria's demands for political and economic reforms in the
southern African kingdom, criticised internationally over its
ban on political parties.

The budget crunch, triggered by a sharp decline in receipts
from a regional customs union, caused unprecedented protests
against Swazi ruler King Mswati III, who has at least a dozen
wives and a personal fortune estimated at $200 million.

Meanwhile, the majority of his 1.2 million subjects wallow
in poverty.
($1 = 8.5642 South African rand)

(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Ed Cropley)