Search This Blog

For more coverage follow us also on Twitter and Facebook

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Swaziland is to buy King Mswati III a private jet plane despite the dire financial plight the kingdom is currently enduring.

This was confirmed on Tuesday (14 March 2017) after reports that the King, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and already has one jet, had decided not to have the second jet because the kingdom could not afford it.

Edgar Hillary, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told members of a Swazi parliamentary committee a jet had been purchased and was currently undergoing refurbishments.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported that Hillary told the MPs that the aircraft there. ‘It was still undergoing refurbishments to conform to standards where it could be seen as being fit for the King.’  

In 2015, the Ministry was given E296 million (about US$20 million) to buy a 375-seater Airbus A340-300 built in 2001 from China Airlines in Taiwan. E96 million was used to pay a deposit.

There was some confusion over the current state of the purchase as last week Lindiwe Dlamini, Minister for Public Works and Transport, told Parliament the government had dropped plans to buy the jet. The Observer reported, ‘She further stated this was done by His Majesty King Mswati III upon seeing that the country was in a dire economic situation.’

King Mswati rules over a population of 1.3 million people. Seven in ten live in abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 a day. The King lives a lavish lifestyle with 13 palaces, a private jet, fleets of top-of-the range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls-Royce.

In April 2016, Members of the Swaziland Parliament blocked the move to pay the E96 million deposit for the plane. The money had been allocated in the kingdom’s annual budget announced in February 2016.

The money was set aside for a jet for the King after members of the parliament, many of them appointed by the King, urged the Swazi Government to consider buying the King a plane to replace the DC-9 jet (also known as an MD-87) which he already has. It had been the subject of legal disputes in both Canada and the British Virgin Islands. 

Once news of the intended spending was made public outside of Swaziland the King came in for heavy criticism. Swaziland was in the grip of a drought crisis and in February the Swazi Government declared a national emergency and said the kingdom would need E248 million (US$16 million) before the end of April 2016.

Within days, the MPs overturned their earlier decision. Unconfirmed reports circulating on the Internet said that King Mswati had refused to sign-off Swaziland’s budget unless he got his jet.

See also


No comments: