Foreign love is pricey in eSwatini

Published: 17/Jun/2018
Source: City Press (Johannesburg) / News24

By Sibongakonkhe Nkosi

Residents of the kingdom of Swaziland, now called eSwatini, will have to pay dearly if they want to marry a foreign national – if the Finance Bill of 2018 is signed into law.

According to the draft law still before Parliament, a Swazi citizen will have to pay 30 000 Swazi lilangeni (R29 900) to have their marriage to a foreigner registered with home affairs. This is in addition to any payments of lobolo or dowry due to the in-laws.  Currently, a Swazi national pays 100 lilangeni for a pre-application to register their marriage.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze was quoted by a local daily newspaper as saying that 30 000 lilangeni was nothing and was justified for those wanting to marry a foreigner.

The bill was reportedly kept under wraps until local media got wind of it. Government allegedly intended to push it through as soon as the king dissolved Parliament late next month.  This is in preparation for the national tinkhundla elections, to be held on September 21. In terms of the country’s Constitution, once the king dissolves Parliament, the country is run by a council of ministers who have legislative powers and can draft laws. These are taken to the king to sign into law.

According to information shared with City Press, the proposed changes are regarded as a step against regional integration and fly in the face of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which calls for the free movement of people from Cape Town to Cairo.


It currently costs 50 lilangeni to obtain a Swazi identity document, but this could increase to 200 lilangeni if the bill is signed into law.


Any person who loses a passport would have to pay 350 lilangeni for a new one. It currently costs 80 lilangeni.


Read further:

Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Eswatini
Year: 2018