Not only do King Mswati III and his Royal Family milk the Swazi people dry, they are doing it illegally.
The following contains extracts from the Nation magazine, an independent monthly publication of news and comment in Swaziland, dated April 2008. It details how the amount of monies allocated to the King and his family were increased against the law.
The extracts also reveal that in 2008 the King and his family received about E500 million, or 5.3 percent of the entire national budget, of Swaziland for their own use.
King takes five percent of the budget!
King Mswati III and the royal family will take a huge chunk of the national budget when government allocates money to the various state organs this month. The government has given the monarchy a monumental 159 percent increase in its allocation from last year. Sadly, this has been done illegally, as is becoming the norm with government not to follow the law. King Mswati’s budget is controlled through the Emoluments and Civil List Act. It has been completely ignored.
‘In a country where 69 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, where the economy has remained stagnant for the last five years, King Mswati III and the royal family will take a whopping 5.3 percent of the national budget’s E9.5 billion this year.
‘This is according to the Budget Estimates, released to parliament and the public by Majozi Sithole, the Minister of Finance, when he delivered the Budget Speech at the end of February.
‘This means to keep the monarchy alive and well government has allocated about E500 million of the national budget under the King’s Emoluments and Civil List subvention to the Swazi National Treasury and the rehabilitation and upgrading of royal residences and roads.
‘The highlight of the budget this financial year is that the monarchy has been given an increase of 159 percent up from E85 million in the 2007/08 budget to E220 million in the current budget 2008/09. This translates to an increase of a staggering E135 million.
‘King Mswati III, who has drawn a lot of international criticism for his lavish spending in the face of so much poverty among his people, lives under the pressure of his siblings, the princes and princesses – sons and daughters of King Sobhuza II – who draw allowances from the monarchy’s budget. They enjoy annual allowance of E20,000.
‘Between the 2006/07 and 2007/08 fiscal years, the budget for Royal Emoluments and Civil List increased by only E6 million – from E79 million to E85 million.
‘The E135 million increase allocated this year is higher than the overall amount allocated for disaster management, which received only E100 million.
‘According to the Royal Emoluments and Civil List Act of 1992 contentiously amended in 1998 a yearly sum of E15 million shall be paid for the king’s emoluments and civil list.’
‘A closer look at this year’s financial adjustment reveals that in effecting the increase, Sithole violated the Royal Emoluments and Civil List Act as amended in 1998. This essentially means this year’s huge increase is actually illegal.'
‘In 1992, the then Minister of Finance, Themba Masuku, brought a bill to parliament in which he sought to increase the annual pay for the King’s emoluments and civil list from the E4.712 million to E9 million.
‘Parliament rejected the bill because he had tabled it illegally.’
‘Masuku never returned to parliament with the report. Instead, he waited for the dissolution of parliament in May 1998. In the absence of a parliament pending elections at the time, Masuku seized upon the opportunity to present a bill while the king ruled in council.
‘It was during the period that Cabinet dusted the rejected bill, made a few touch ups measured in millions of Emalangeni and brought it to the King for assent.
‘In keeping with the ancient idiom “when the cat is away, the mice play” Cabinet in the absence of parliament increased the King’s Emoluments and Civil List to E15 million, instead of the E9 million as Masuku had originally requested in the rejected bill. The act of dishonesty and bad faith by the then Cabinet was assented to by the king.’
‘In his  budget [Minister of Finance] Sithole announced that by December last year over 600,000 people had received food aid.
‘The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, which should be pulling all efforts together to maximise food production in the kingdom, has been allocated a recurrent budget of E248 million and E76 million capital budget.
‘In this year’s budget, Majozi has revealed that there is also provision of E113.3 million for the Swazi National Treasury, over and above the E220 million already given. The Chief Officer in the King’s Office is in charge of the Swazi National Treasury budget.
‘The Swazi National Treasury will get E19 million more than the budget allocated for elderly grants this year. Government has allocated E94 million for payment of elderly grants. The money will take care of about 50,000 of the country’s old and feeble citizens.
‘The increase of the social grants budget for the elderly will see them receiving only a paltry E500 quarterly.
‘Under capital expenditure, E105 million has been set aside for the rehabilitation of royal residences. The budget is under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and it has been converted to a transfer. Again, this is outside the E220 million allocated for the monarchy.
‘The funds cover the rehabilitation of royal residences not under the schedule in terms of the Royal Emoluments and Civil List Act.
‘It is E5 million higher than the funds allocated for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC). Government records show that the number of orphaned and vulnerable children has been steadily increasing.
‘In all, the almost E500 million budget for the royal household is higher than the budget for recurrent expenditure for police and army. The two institutions respectively received an allocation of E427 million and E475 million.’
SLASH THE BUDGET FOR SWAZI KING