King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, is to get a 9 percent increase for his spending from the taxpayer, while elderly pensions are frozen because there is not enough money to pay for increases.
The news about King Mswati’s budget increase has not been reported in Swaziland, where media routinely censor news about the King.
King Mswati’s ‘Civil List’, the money given to him to run the Royal household, will increase by E30m (US$1.9m) in the coming financial year to E370m (US$24m).
The King also receives income from a variety of businesses in the kingdom. For example, he holds 25 percent of all mineral wealth ‘in trust for the Swazi nation.’ In reality he uses this money to fund his lavish lifestyle, which includes 13 palaces, a private jet, fleets of Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce.
Earlier this month (March 2016), it was revealed the King’s share of the just-reopened Lufafa Gold Mine at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region of Swaziland could be worth up to US$149 million.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 per day.
The increase in the King’s budget was contained in the annual budget estimates in February 2016. Although the Swazi media covered aspects of the budget, the news about the King was not published.
Meanwhile, the same budget pegged the elderly grant (pensions), which are for people aged 60 and over, at E240 per month. A total of E170,765,454 (about US$11m) was paid in elderly grants in the 2015 – 2016 financial year. This was about half the E340 million that the King received as ‘Civil List’ to fund the Royal household.
The budget also revealed that about US$9 million would be spent on a private jet for the King. Also US$12 million will reportedly be spent on décor at the Royal Terminal Building at King Mswati III (KMIII) Airport.
$12m SPEND ON ROYAL DECOR AT AIRPORT