Poor people in Swaziland get their water from a pond surrounded by human filth because clean water has been diverted to be used solely by one of King Mswati III’s 13 palaces.
It is happening at Mazamazama in the Shiselweni region, the Swaziland News reported on Monday (23 April 2018).
The pond is only a few metres away from the royal palace. The online newspaper reported, ‘The water crisis within the area exists despite the availability of a bore that cannot be utilized by the residents as it was strictly reserved to provide water to the King’s Palace.’
King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He has 13 palaces and he and his family live lavishly. Last week he took delivery of a private A340 Airbus jet that with upgrades reportedly cost about US$30 million. At his 50th birthday party on 19 April 2018 he wore a suit weighing 6 kg that was beaded with diamonds. His cake had 52 layers. Meanwhile seven in ten of his 1.1 million subjects have incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day.
Lucky Mkhwanazi, described by the newspaper as the ‘Constituency representative’, was quoted saying, ‘The new borehole cannot be used to provide clean water to the residents as it is strictly reserved for the Palace.’
One resident told the newspaper, ‘Now we are sharing water with animals and during the rainy season human waste is washed towards the ponds. During the winter season, the water source went dry such that it takes nearly three hours to fill a 20 litre container.’
The newspaper quoted Shiselweni Regional Administrator Themba Masuku saying, ‘I would like to assure the residents that the King remains a visionary leader who wants his people to have access to clean water. As a result we have established water schemes even in other areas within the Shiselweni region. We therefore appeal for cooperation from the residents as we work towards developing their areas.’
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