19 June 2018

Swaziland: Favoured Motoring for Govt Ministers

While the Swaziland Government is content to have only 12 public ambulances available for the whole kingdom because many are off the road waiting for repair, it has been reported that Government ministers have been given hire cars to use while their government cars are also in the workshop.

The Times Sunday an independent newspaper in Swaziland / Eswatini reported (17 June 2018) 'their luxurious BMW X5 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs)' had developed mechanical faults and were in three garages in Manzini, Matsapha and at the Mbabane Central Transport Administration (CTA) depot.

The rented cars are Isuzu and Ford 4x4 bakkies and BMW 340i sedans.

'Government has been left to bear the expense of fixing the ministers' vehicles because their service plans have reportedly been exhausted,' the Times reported.

The newspaper added, 'Some of the ministers using rented cars include ICT's Dumisani Ndlangamandla, Education and Training's Phineas Magagula, Economic Planning and Development's Prince Hlangusemphi, Public Works and Transport's Lindiwe Dlamini, Housing and Urban Development's Phiwayinkhosi Mabuza, Tinkhundla Administration and Development's Mduduzi Dlamini, and Agriculture's Moses Vilakati.

Public Works and Transport Minister Lindiwe Dlamini confirmed the situation. The Times said the minister acknowledged that government was faced with financial challenges.

Last week it was reported there were only 12 public ambulances available in Swaziland to serve a population of 1.1 million. There were reported to be 20 broken-down ambulances in garages that were not being repaired.

Also last week Finance Minister Martin Dlamini told the Swazi House of Assembly that Swaziland was broke and the kingdom was running out of cash. Government suppliers go unpaid and arrears stand at E3.28 billion (US$240 million), he said.

Despite the financial meltdown the Government paid US$30 million to buy Swaziland's absolute monarch King Mswati III his second private jet plane. It was delivered days ahead of his 50th birthday on 19 April. On that day at a party he wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit weighing 6 kg studded with diamonds.

On 4 June 2018 the government presented the King with a birthday gift described by the Swazi Observer as a 'luxurious lounge suite trimmed with gold'. In addition, the Queen Mother gave him a dining room suite made of gold. He also received cheques from companies and organisations in his kingdom worth at least E15 million.

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