King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini has reportedly splurged a whopping R231.5 million on 19 Rolls-Royces for his wives and one Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV for himself.
Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson of Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) which campaigns for democratisation in the Kingdom, shared photos of the swanky cars on Twitter on Wednesday.
He accompanied the images with the caption, “20 Rolls Royce have just been delivered at Nkhanini for His Majesty King Mswati and all his wives yes the Queen Mother.”
In a follow-up post, Lukhele added, “The total price of the purchased of 19 Rolls Royce vehicles by King Mswati and a customised Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV for himself. All worth £12 million (R231.5m).”
SSN also shared a video of the alleged King Mswati’s Rolls-Royces being driven from a compound.
The Citizen reportedly received confirmation from a source in the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication that the vehicles were indeed purchased by the King.
The images and videos have sparked outrage on social media as commenters compared the royal family’s extravagance with eSwatini’s impoverished status.
This isn’t the first time King Mswati has spent eye-popping amounts of money on material acquisitions.
In May 2018, City Press reported that he had spent R2.7 billion buying and refurbishing a private jet as a gift to himself for his 50th birthday – while paying pensioners just R400 a month.
58.9% live below poverty line
According to the World Bank, 58.9% of eSwatini citizens lived below the national poverty line in 2017.
Furthermore, 39.7% of them lived below the international $1.90 poverty line in 2016 and 2017.
King Mswati has reportedly married 15 times. His eighth wife, Senteni Masango, took her own life in 2017, while his 12th wife, Nothando Dube, passed away in March this year at a Johannesburg hospital.
State funds are reportedly used to maintain the large royal family and fund their lavish lifestyle.