History of the Bank

On 22nd March 1974, King Sobhuza II established The Monetary Authority of Swaziland, through The Monetary Authority of Swaziland Order of 1974. On 1st April 1974, the Bank officially began its operations. His Majesty appointed Mr. Ethan Mayisela, ‘uZangashane’, as the Authority’s first Governor. The Members of the Board of Directors included: Mr. I. F. Hodgkinson, Mr. A. M. Fakudze, the Governor Mr. E. Mayisela, Mr. David Cohen, the Attorney General, Mr. Nst. Keng, Mr. J.S. Matsebula, Princess Msalela and Mr. L. Masuku.

At the very beginning, the Monetary Authority of Swaziland’s staff complement totalled 8 people. They consisted of the Governor himself, the late Esther Mazibuko who was a cleaner and tea provider, John Mazibuko who was in support services and still works at the Bank to this day. Fikile Dlamini (now Kunene) who was secretary to all of the Governors, an Economist called Peter Davies, Beauty Hlope who was an accountant and administrator and finally, Moses. V. Mabuza who was an accounts clerk. They were very small in numbers but, nevertheless, a highly efficient and productive team. As 1974 progressed, the enthusiastic Governor established more divisions and therefore employed more staff members. Christmas 1974 was celebrated with twenty- seven staff. On 31st March 2008, the staff complement totalled 270.


The Monetary Authority of Swaziland started by renting premises from Swaziland Development and Savings Bank (Engungwini Building). Later in the year, it became apparent that the Authority needed its own money storage (Ingungu) since they had acquired their own assets (money). They could no longer rely on the surrogacy house of Engungwini, hence the idea of Emantsholini (the inner secret storage) was hatched for the Umntsholi building. The Board of Directors, especially the late J.S.M. Matsebula invented the name for storing the Authority’s wealth. The Bank’s building was carefully planned and officially opened by His Majesty King Sobhuza II on July 20th 1979 – named ‘Umntsholi Wemaswati’. With the constant support of Government and the enthusiastic participation of commercial banks and the financial sector at large, the Central Bank of Swaziland was given a successful launch pad from which it has never looked back.


A significant milestone was reached when on 6th September 1974, the national currency; the Lilangeni was issued to Swazis as legal tender on Independence Day. The ecstatic celebrations were held at Somhlolo Stadium, where King Sobhuza II officially launched the new national currency. It was pegged at par with the South African Rand. Following this, in 1975, the Financial Institutions Order was promulgated to regulate commercial banks.


On 18th July 1979, the Order-in-Council was amended, replacing The Monetary Authority of Swaziland with The Central Bank of Swaziland. The Bank then assumed more responsibility, becoming banker to Government and commercial banks, managing reserves, administering exchange controls, collecting statistics on the economy and becoming permanent advisor to Government.