Friday, January 8, 2010


Some fantasies can be very expensive and none more so than King Mswati III’s white elephant, the Sikhuphe International Airport.

Just before Christmas the Swaziland Government gave out tenders for work at the airport that is being built in a Swaziland wilderness to a total cost of more than E37 million. (5 million US dollars).

This includes a tender awarded to Ramashhka Architect and Interior Designs for design and construction supervision of something called ‘the Royal terminal’ at a cost of E6.3 million.

King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, told the world last year that the airport would be open by March 2010. Barnabas Dlamini, the man the king illegally appointed as Prime Minister, said the airport would open by June 2010.

It was obviously a fantasy, but instead of admitting the airport is a non-starter, that Swaziland doesn’t need the airport (which is estimated to cost at least E1.5 billion if it ever gets finished) and that international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have criticised the project as a waste of resources, the Swazi Government continues to throw good money after bad.

The E37 million spending comes at a time when Swaziland is on the verge of bankruptcy. The decision to spend on the pointless airport came at the same time that the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) announced that Swaziland’s income from its fund this year would fall to E1.9 billion from the previous year’s E6 billion.

Even Swaziland’s inept Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole admitted this plunged Swaziland into a financial crisis.

When will the Swazi Government get it: Swaziland is broke and will not be able to feed its own people this year. The government will have to get out the begging bowl and go to the international community for help but why should anyone help them when it wastes money on vanity projects for a king who is completely out of touch with reality?

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