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politician from tiny southern African kingdom of Swaziland has proposed hike in tax rate on nation's traditional healers. Majahodvwa Khumalo has urged government to levy tax to help solve his country's worsening economic situation. He believes time is ripe for upping tax on healers, known as 'sangomas'. Mr Khumalo said sangomas have quadrupled their fees in recent years but are still paying very little in tax. He told Swazi parliament healers needed to pay their fair share towards country's economic recovery, saying: " majority of our people consult traditional healers but money they pay to government falls far too short of money they make."

sangomas currently pay annual fee of 10 emalangeni ($1.15) to ply their trade. Many Swazis visit healers, who are key part of nation's health service. Opponents say raising taxes on sangomas would bring in very little revenue. Swaziland is in dire financial straits. Its budget deficit has skyrocketed to 15 per cent of its GDP. Many say King Mswati III should do more to help his country. He spends small fortune on his many wives, lavish lifestyle, and bloated military. The sangomas feel they are being singled out. They have already spent decades trying to rid themselves of "witch doctor" label given to them by Europeans. Western pharmacists are now studying their cures and medicines.

 


 
 

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