MBABANE:King Mswati said he bought the now controversial E200million Royce Rolls cars for his wives from his own pocket.
Speaking on behalf of the King, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO)in the King’s Office said taxpayers money was never used to purchase these cars but they were acquired through special savings for the King. Responding to questions from this Swaziland News Online, Gamedze said as the King’s Office, they sold old cars that were used by royalty particularly the King’s wives(Emakhosikati) to generate revenue for these cars adding that this was then supplemented through a royal budget that was approved by Parliament.
“These cars were never funded with tax-payers money but through selling old cars that were used by royalty including Emakhosikati(King’s wives). We have been making savings for these cars for a long time, we only supplemented those savings with a budget that was approved by Parliament” he said.
The CEO consistently maintained that King Mswati was spending money that was within his budget, however he referred further comments to Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane. It has been reported that King Mswati’s budget for the 2019-2020 financial year was around E1.3billion(about $80,000.00), it was approved by the current Parliament.
According to cars guide reviews, news, and advice (www.carsguide.com.au), each Rolls Royce Phantom cost about E14million(about $900,000.00), this then brings the figure to about E200million for the 13 wives.
Reached for comments, Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane disputed that these cars were purchased with public funds.
“Government never bought cars for the King and Emakhosikati, the King’s Office handles such purchase. The is a trading fund at the King’s Office responsible for purchasing fleet of cars for the King and Emakhosikati. Please talk to King’s Office, I have no knowledge on the costs of the cars” said the State Spokesperson.
But pro-democracy activists and union leaders came hard on government and the King for massive spending in the midst of the current economic challenges. The activists maintained that the cars were funded with taxpayers money as the King’s Office remains inmmune to auditing by the Auditor General(AG).
Sibongile Mazibuko, the President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) wondered why government, particulary the Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, Minister of Finance Neal Rijkernburg and Central Bank Governor Majozi Sithole allowed this spending in the midst of the financial challenges. She advised these political figures to refuse to endorse this massive spending and face dismissal or simple resign in protest against social and economic injustice that comes with this extravagant spending.
“They should not succumb to unjustifiable expenditures that are meant for the royal family while about 70% of EmaSwati are remains in poverty,” said the NNLC President.
Pius Vilakati, the Information and Publicity Officer of the Communist Party of Swaziland(CPS) said the purchasing of these expensive cars was another middle figure to the poor people of eSwatini.
“This is yet another huge middle finger to the poor people of Swaziland. Students, workers, women and the unemployed. It means patients in hospitals will continue to die from curable diseases, because Mswati has chosen to buy such luxurious vehicles rather than alleviate problems in the health care system” he said.
Sikelela Dlamini, the Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) said the purchasing of these cars suggests that the economy was flourishing in the country.
“This shows that the economy of the country has really improved and by purchasing the cars, the King was issuing a command to government to award civil servants their Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA)” said the SNAT President.
His Majesty King Mswati