Govt spin doctor's E450 000 new wheels
MBABANE – Government has bought a car worth about E450 000 for its
spokesman Percy Simelane.
This is a Toyota Fortuner D4D 3-litre engine registered GSD 005 PC.
This means it is owned by government, even though Simelane uses it for both official and personal reasons.
Efforts by the Times SUNDAY to establish how funds for this purchase were sourced were frustrated. Sime-lane says a mysterious sponsor contributed E300 000 towards the purchase of the vehicle and the rest of the money was contributed by government, which released E150 000. The car was bought about two months ago.
Simelane said the E300 000 came from funds donated by an anonymous sponsor who was making a contribution towards image building for the government Press Office. Simelane said the sponsor had initially donated E400 000 but part of the money went towards purchase of the office car, a Chev Capriva 2.4LT. He said the other money was to be used for items like setting up a broadband internet service, television monitors, Dstv decoder, radio monitors, Maranz voice recorder and video camera accessories. He said some of these items were yet to be delivered to the cabinet offices for installation. "We had budgeted around E300 000 for the purchase of a car but it appeared later that the car we were targeting would, in the near future, give us problems, hence we opted for the Fortuner," he said.
"It was then that government contributed E150 000, adding onto the E300 000 we had for the purchase of this car," said the government spokesperson. Simelane stressed that the Fortuner was not his personal possession but belonged to the office.
Even though when journalists visited Simelane on Friday in his office the keys of the Fortuner were in his possession, he said anyone from the press office would be eligible to drive the car.
"I can assure you that the E300 000 is not from my own pocket but was a donation," he insisted.
Asked who the sponsor was, Simelane said "Sidayise emafethi" which has the literal meaning: ‘We sold fat cakes.’ It could also mean, "We raised it somehow."
He said, "The sponsor is not from the country and I will not mention who he/she is." Simelane was recalled as government spokesperson last year. Before his appointment he was director of the Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS), a position he had assumed in 2008. This publication has gathered that Macanjana Motsa, former government spokesperson, used her personal car when she was still in the position Simelane is now holding. For government duties, Motsa used alternative cars provided by the Central Transport Administration.
The Times SUNDAY has also gathered that government would spend over E200 million purchasing cars including royal escorts.
Meanwhile, Ntuthuko Dlamini, Minister of Public Works and Transport, confirmed that government contributed E150 000 towards the purchase of Simelane’s car. The minister said his ministry was not aware where Simelane got the rest of the money.
"Government only contributed E150 000 towards the purchase of Percy Simelane’s car, a Fortuner. We are not aware where the rest of the money came from," he said. Simelane however on Friday refuted Minister Ntuthuko’s claim that he was not aware where the rest of the money for the purchase of the Fortuner came from. "He is not telling the truth. He knows where the money came from," he said.
The minister had further explained that government spent close to E1.2 million on the purchase of the DPM’s new car, Simelane’s car and one for the PM’s office. He said the DPM’s car cost E700 000 while a KIA bought for the PM’s office cost E250 000.
He said the KIA and DPM’s cars had not been handed over to the new owners. He said the DPM’s car has not been handed over because it was being repainted.
"The KIA which had been bought for the PM’s office will now be used by CTA’s central pool to lease to ministries. It cannot be taken to the Prime Minister’s office because it’s not a proper car for that office’s usage," he said.
Lama mysterious sponsors! Asebasicolele ngalamanga la so obvious! Kepha labothishela nemanesi abenyuselwa ngani imiholo ngoba phela kusho kutsi imali icaphakile. Lama mysterious sponsors yini abe concerned kangaka ngetimoto netindiza? Who are these things helping? Bantfu lekungubona badzinga kusitwa abanakwa!
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, kozo (email@example.com)
haha, mysterious sponsor again!!
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, M.S (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let me first say Editor, that you're blessed with good investigative journalists. All your stories contain information from both sides, which results in balanced reporting. I also like the quality of your English, that's why I insist that my children read the Sunday Times without fail - to up their English aptitude. For that, I thank you. Coming to the Press Secretary, Percy Simelane's new car, I'm dumbfounded, distraught, flabbergasted, disillusioned, hurt and disappointed that Gov't would be so insensitive that they can actually buy him a new fancy car in the middle of a raging sand storm as the teachers' strike and national financial stress. Percy has (mis)represented gov't extremely well (badly) in the past few weeks, and the results are there for all to see - chaos everywhere, what with angry teachers being addressed like uneducated juveniles by the very same Percy. As for the mystery donor, could he come up with the 4.5% increment because it seems we have a lot of mystery donors with very deep pockets these days. On another note, do we have a Money Anti-laundering Law in Swaziland? I'm just asking with no particular reference to anything or anyone. As for this gov't, all I can say is that "it is arguably the most hated and despised gov't" that ever came to power in the history of our young kingdom. What they've done to cause national pain and confusion when it comes to 'money' matters, will make sorrowful reading in our history books one day. Too bad we have a gov't that doesn't give a hoot about their legacy, much the same as terrorists don't care about their victims.
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, lomangwane (lomangwane@ yahoo)
Please clarify whether the car is for Government or Percy. Kona ngubani lolonemali yekudlala such that s/he can donate money to our Government,first it was the plane and now it's the car...then batasitjela kutsi even the E200m is a donation.
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, Charlie
Anonymous donors are usually dangerous, because they don't give anonymous donations without expecting an equally "anonymous" return. It looks like Swaziland has been invaded by generous anonymous donors in the past few months, and I'm wondering what they're receiving in exchange for the huge generosity. I say this because these people must be getting something in return, only that we don't know what it is. If donors can go so far that they contribute towards gov't cars, how much, then, are they contributing anonymously to the onshore and/or offshore private accounts of public officials. I'm getting scared for this country. What's happening is too unusual. It's business unusual indeed. We need a huge forensic to be conducted on our public funds and on this gov't in particular. It's the only way they can cleanse themselves of the bad speculation which is doing the rounds. The forensic must cover and reconcile their findings with what these public officials have declared with the Human Rights & Integrity Commission.
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, Keep Exhaling (email@example.com)
That Percy! I'm disappointed on the way he tries to hide things.
Jul 22, 2012, 6:41 AM, Buhle (Mbuhlecomfort@yahoo.com)
Maye nalama "anonymous donors" shem ayasebenta shem lamabhayisikilini.acalephi endizeni...
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If this newspaper didn't break this story to us, how else could we have known that Swaziland is blessed with so many anonymous donors? This gives me hope that, very soon, a mysterious donor will come forward to fund the small salary increments being sought by civil servants. I hope these mysterious donors are not too 'selective' when it comes to dishing out their money. We're the only country in the world which enjoys the highest ratio of generous, mysterious and anonymous donors. That means that we're a unique country, with a unique democracy, and with a unique government, and all of these are beginning to pay off. I hope this 'anonymous free food' which we're getting will not create terminal ulcers in all our stomachs tomorrow. I hope and pray,,,,,
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, No Free Lunch (email@example.com)
Does the Liqoqo advisory board exist? If the answer is yes why is it so quiet,when the country is burning by the present parliament through circular no.1 of 2010.Lenkhosi itawubese ibusa liphi live nase lishe lonkhe? His masjesty should just disband the whole parliament atibusele lelive.
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, machuzu (firstname.lastname@example.org )
This country is being attacked by "mysterious" sponsors and/or donors lately. We had one for the jet, and now for the spin-doctor's car. Its mysterious indeed.
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, Sifiso Nsibande (email@example.com)
Why even borther to ask this man. But I must say he has a sense of humor, only that its the wrong time and wrong place. Enough with this anonymous ''donors'' nonsense, we are not fools. Maybe ancient Swazis were easily fooled, but not us.
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, Fethi
But ikhona lemali yekutsenga timoto.....?????
Jul 22, 2012, 2:41 PM, lutho khumalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)