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LOBAMBA – Members of Parliament (MPs) want a new private jet for His Majesty King Mswati III.

They said the twin-engined McDonnell Douglas DC-9, which was impounded in Canada about six months ago, would no longer be safe for the King as no one knew what things had been done to it.

The legislators made this known during the tabling and adoption of a draft resolution of Parliament’s House of Assembly on the impounded State Aircraft yesterday. As much as they were happy that the Canadian Courts had ordered the release of the aircraft, they were very sceptical about its condition.

Nkwene MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini, who is a member of the committee that was appointed to look into bringing the plane home, somewhat cast a shadow of doubt on its safety state saying that it was possible that it had been compromised. However, it was Nhlambeni MP Frans Dlamini who first made a suggestion that the plane should not only be brought back but must be put in the market for sale and then use the proceeds to purchase a new one. In 2002 MPs at that time stopped and opposed government’s secret plans to purchase a private jet for the King.

“We have to use our minds and eyes here. I have luvalo (panic attack) because the image of the country has been compromised by the impounding of our Head of State’s aircraft. So let’s find another aircraft that has not dark cloud of controversy over it,” submitted the MP.

Kwaluseni MP Mkhosi Dlamini concurred with his colleague and said this plane has been ‘scarred’ and therefore no longer suitable for royalty. The MP was just too doubtful about the condition of the aircraft, which he said he missed seeing, whether flying or just parked at Matsapha Airport.

Last week Friday they called for the release of the aircraft through their submissions in a special parliamentary sitting. Even the Senate also had its say on the matter. As a result a five-member team from the House of Assembly was appointed to draft a public statement on the matter and further draft a petition which would be sent to Canada by a delegation.

The plane in question was officially unveiled by government two years ago as a special gift from an individual whom Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini never revealed to the media when requested to.

However, it happened that late last year the plane became confiscated after Salgaocar shareholder Shanmuga Rethena, popularly known as Shan, obtained an order for its attachment. This was a process which local authorities claimed no knowledge of. But the order calling for the release of the plane was issued by Justice Dow on last Friday after attorneys representing the country successfully argued that the interest of justice favoured its release.

It was further contented that the State aircraft enjoyed diplomatic immunity; hence, it was wrong for Canadian Courts to order it to be impounded in the first place. Be that as it may, it was learnt that in response of these developments Shan filed an appeal seeking to set aside this judgement. The filing of his appeal means that the plane will remain that country pending the outcome of the appeal which will be on April 9, 2015.

When the matter was first brought to court, Swaziland had no representative. It was felt that the Canadian Courts’ had issued an order to have the Swazi plane attached without having heard the side of the other party.

Attorney General Majahenkaba Dlamini, in a recent interview, said Justice Dow dismissed an application by Shan to have the case only discussed in courts. He said Shan had applied that there be a seal whereby the case could only be discussed in courts and no other avenue.
He further said Justice Dow dismissed an application by Shan to have the plane further detained by the Canadian State. Dlamini said this application was dismissed pending appeal.

Also, the businessman’s application to have the country (Swaziland) to pay $3.5 million (approx E35m) as surety to the Canadian Courts’ was dismissed.  Dlamini said instead Justice Dow ordered that costs of the court proceedings be paid by Shan. As for the E35 million allegedly owed to Shan, Swaziland has since applied that it should be cancelled.

Comments (10 posted):

Once Again on 31/03/2015 06:07:50
kungatsi the mind game yeJet ayiwuphela laSwatini. Reasons were laid out clearly that we do need the king to have a private Jet but the timing doesnt allow. A BIG NO to it still stands. Proceeds from selling that plane will require a lot of money from the tax payers who are milked left right back front & center. we all work hard to buy our toys & may the King do so too atitsengele ngoba unayo imali yakhe bantfu batoyekela lokuphike kukhuluma.
ts monare on 31/03/2015 06:38:01
In the midst of such poverty they worry about a jet while that one can be taken for repairs
sibusiso nkambule on 31/03/2015 08:46:08
These so called MPs trying to get recognition at the tax payers expense.There are very critical projects that needs to become priority. The elderly grants, hospitals which are dilapidating, undrivable roads from same constituencies they are coming from. water crises in rural areas,school shortages etc.have the consulted from the people who have placed them in those positions? what is their mandate as MPs?
masilela phinda on 31/03/2015 16:23:59
Ayibuye lendiza yeMbube
Realist on 31/03/2015 18:09:55
That idea sounds fine provided the same mp's pay for the new plane from their own pockets and not with tax payers money. Also, they shouldn't send the new plane abroad for servicing as it might end up being tampered with.
Bayethe on 31/03/2015 18:55:08
MPs are powerless in he tinkhundla system of government. Swazi's expect something from nothing. Very few MPs are highly educated and none have any authority in an absolute monarchy. Selling the plane and buying a new one is the stupidest financial thing they could do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the plane itself as it was in Canada for maintenance. The only shame or dark cloud is over the King himself, not the plane. The country would be better of replacing Mswati III instead of the plane. Getting rid of his dark cloud of leadership and moving towards 2022 instead of further away. Swaziland will never obtain first world status do to the gross political rights and civil liberties violations committed under the rule of Mswati III. South Africa will be a first world country before Swaziland. The economy can not grow under an absolute monarchy, you simply have to look at history to see democracy and economic development go hand in hand.
Zenzi on 31/03/2015 20:23:19
We are thinking of buying jets while unemployment continues to escalate and yet again we are hoping for a first world status in seven years time.
Chris X Khumalo on 31/03/2015 21:55:54
they should buy the king a new jet with the hefty packages they will get in 2018 when they leave office,not with the taxpayers money!they shouldnt try to be popular in the king's eyes at our expense!
Skhumbuzo on 01/04/2015 05:23:37
Nxa, kwabasuka
George Dhladhla on 01/04/2015 20:39:29
Lo Shan ngats udzinga "MAKHUNDU". Faka Makhundu Mr PM!

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