Outrage as Swazi king receives 120 BMWs, 19 Rolls-Royces for his family
After public servants in eSwatini took to the streets demanding pay increases, King Mswati III has come under fire for "spoiling" his family with a fleet of luxury BMWs.
Formerly known as Swaziland, the monarchy has left opposition party, the People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), fuming as it appeared to ignore calls for government employees to be remunerated better, and instead doubled down by ordering 120 BMWs which were delivered on Thursday.
Around 700 public servants rallied in the capital Mbabane on Thursday against the rule of Mswati, whom they accused of draining public coffers.
Pudemo general secretary Wandile Dludlu condemned the purchase of luxury vehicles.
"In Swaziland, public sector workers have not received salary adjustments in three years and the health system has totally collapsed, rendering the poorest of the poor vulnerable," he said in a statement.
"Tertiary institutions have also closed down due to student unrest caused by the regime’s failure to cater for their tuition fees, text book fees, accommodation and other expenses."
Dludlu accused Mswati of continuing to "spoil himself and his family", seemingly oblivious to the problems afflicting citizens.
"Last week, a total of 19 Rolls-Royce cars were delivered to Swaziland for the exclusive use of the king, his mother and his wives," he said.
Dludlu alleged that the new BMWs were for the exclusive use of the royal family, which includes 15 wives and 23 children.
"According to reports, some of these cars are for his motorcade and the exclusive use of his children. To say this is a blatant display of arrogance and total disregard of the poor people of Swaziland’s feelings by the monarch would be an understatement," he said.
"He is basically showing them a middle finger and proving to all and sundry that he is a law unto himself."
TimesLIVE has reached out to the royal family for comment and will update the story if they respond.