Friday, September 9, 2011


Mail and Guardian, South Africa

9 September 2011


SA loan to Swaziland in the balance

As protests intensify against the rule of King Mswati III, the Swazi government's spending plans are attracting increased scrutiny of his secretive business empire.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that Majozi Sithole, the Swazi finance minister, had disclosed that R1-billion of the country's planned R2.4-billion loan from South Africa would be spent on construction projects, including those linked to the controversial new Sikhuphe airport.

A key beneficiary of the planned spending will be Inyatsi Construction, a Swazi-based company that is widely rumoured to be co-owned by Swazi royal interests, though this has been denied.

Differing accounts of share transactions involving the company have deepened suspicion.

Until October 2010, Ndumiso Mamba, the former chief executive of the royal investment trust, Tibiyo takaNgwane, was the chairperson of Inyatsi, with a shareholding of roughly one-third.

Mamba, suspected of holding the shares as a proxy, gave up his holdings unexpectedly after he was caught hiding under the bed of one of Mswati's wives, Nothando Dube, in July last year.

Mamba, who had been serving as justice minister, made his first public appearance two months after the scandal broke to announce he had sold his shares.

He did not explain why he had done so in a year in which the company nearly doubled its turnover, mainly due to government contracts.

To read the full Mail and Guardian report, click here.

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