Following the financial disaster of the King’s Super Cup football competition that may have lost millions of emalangeni in public money; King Mswati III of Swaziland is now plundering more state funds to sponsor his own golf tournament.
On Thursday (13 August 2015) it was announced that the King’s Golf Tournament would be sponsored for E1.2 million (US$120,000). Among the sponsors are the parastatal Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) and the state-owned Swaziland Electricity Company.
Hardly anyone in Swaziland plays golf. Seven in 10 people live in abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 a day.
The King’s Golf Tournament is in its 11th year and generally is an opportunity for King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to get favourable publicity in the international media.
The main sponsor of the tournament with E350,000 is MTN, the cell phone company that has a monopoly of business in Swaziland. It secured this favourable position by giving King Mswati 10 percent of its shares in its Swaziland subsidiary. It is reported that MTN paid E114 million (US$11.4 million) to the King over the past five years.
SPTC has put E280 000 into the golf tournament this year, which is an increase of E30,000 on 2014. Swaziland Electricity Company’s sponsorship amounted to E150,000.
The King’s Super Cup football tournament held on 18 July 2015 received E5.8 million of public money, taken from the budgets of a number of government departments. It was intended the money would be repaid from receipts on the day, but only about 10,000 spectators turned up.
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