King Mswati III of Swaziland, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has a new Rolls Royce car at exactly the time that his government has ordered huge cuts in public expenditure that put at risk what little education and health service.
The king, who has a personal wealth estimated at 200 million US dollars,(about 2 billion emalangeni) continues to be a drain on the wealth of his kingdom. What follows is a media release from the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) detailing the cost of King Mswati and his family (You might also like to read a blogpost on this subject I wrote in December 2009)
Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] Statement
24 April, 2010
Breakdown of expenditure by King Mswati and the Royal family
The Swazi government’s forced budgetary cut backs on all ministries were not accompanied by reduced expenditure on the royal family. This is a fact that many observers predicted. What was not immediately apparent was the extent of king Mswati’s greed. King Mswati and his endless list of beneficiaries, it appears, have deemed it necessary to traverse the world in search of finances to satisfy their insatiable appetites.
According to recent reports, the government of Swaziland has approached the World Bank to plead for a loan amounting to E500 million in order to finance its originally intended budget. A major part of this budget goes towards the maintenance of the royal support system, an undisclosed network of hangers on who happen to be inflicted with the a vile sense of entitlement.
A breakdown of expenditures indicates that despite the personal wealth that the king has from his own investments and the two national trusts, a significant portion of mainstream government spending goes towards the up keep of the royal family. In the past few years the following are annual expenditures associated with the royal family:
· E170 million for Royal Emoluments and Civil List
· E 125 million for rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of state houses.
· E158 million recurrent budget for the Swazi National Treasury under the King’s office.
· E50 million for state houses and E50 Million for link roads to royal residence.
· E95 million for official royal trips by the king.
On top of those fixed annual expenses are the random other expenses such as:
In 2009 five of the king’s wives went on a shopping spree, spending E60 million in the process.
In 2009 the 20 surviving siblings of the king each received E60 000 for merely being royalty. This is a total of E1.2 million.
In the same year, 20 armoured Mercedes Benz S600 Pullman Guards cars were bought for his wives at an estimated cost of E2.5 million (about 250,000 US dollars) each. E 50 million in total.
Recently, he added an E5 million Rolls Royce Phantom to his endless list of luxury cars.
The latter set of expenses are not directly from government coffers but are said to be from his own private accounts, according to his personal secretary, Sam Mkhombe. In total, the amount of money spent by the royal family annually is a little over E700 million. This is an outrageous amount of money especially when it is considered that the failed public funded primary education scheme has a budget of only E839 million this year.
The reason why all aims to borrow money on behalf of the country should be seen as nothing but a front for self aggrandisement is because with reasonable or no royal expenditure by government, there would be no need for this loan. And this is not too much to ask of a royal family that boasts of having its own private finances, investments and receives 10% royalties in every mine in the country.
Issued By the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] South African Chapter.