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State Jet coming - Minister Hillary

image COMING: Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgar Hillary.

The state jet that was approved by Parliament to be purchased last year is still undergoing refurbishments.

The state jet that was approved by Parliament to be purchased last year is still undergoing refurbishments.

This was said yesterday by acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Edgar Hillary. 

He was acting for the incumbent minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, who is currently out in India. 

This was during the debate of the ministry’s annual performance report for the 2016/2017 financial year and the budget allocation of about E626.5 million.

The ministry was given E296 million, during the current financial year, to buy the state jet and E96 million was used to pay deposit for the airplane. 

Hillary was responding to questions posed by Members of Parliament (MPs), who are members of the portfolio committee of the foreign affairs ministry. 

The MPs wanted clarity on whether the airplane was bought or not. The MPs were disturbed by Minister for Public Works and Transport Lindiwe Dlamini’s submissions last Thursday.

Dlamini told members of Parliament, during the debate of her ministry’s performance, that the government had dropped plans to buy the state jet. She further stated this was done by His Majesty King Mswati III upon seeing that the country was in a dire economic situation. The King used the jet known as Siyinqaba more than a week ago to fly to India to attend the Africa-India summit.

Nkwene MP Sikhumbuzo Dlamini was the first MP to state that he was not happy that the issue of the state jet was discussed by the ministry of public works and transport. 

Dlamini stated that last year, they sent the ministry of foreign affairs to buy the state aircraft to be used by the King. They had reasons as Parliament to approve the purchase of the plane. 

“The problem with this matter is that we might find the E96 million has been stolen because we are now told the King has saved the country. 

“We might even forget about this and that is when the money will be stolen,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini’s sentiments were shared by Sandleni MP James Simelane. He also took his time to speak about the reasons why Parliament wanted the plane to be bought for the King. Simelane said the Swazis felt that ‘Siyinqaba’ was no longer fit to be used by the King. The airplane had been impounded in Canada where a certain man claimed the airplane was owed to him.

“We felt it was not good for our King to fly in a plane that had been claimed by a certain man. That made the plane ‘dirty’ for our King to fly in it. The King is our pride. We are in a peaceful country because of his existence,” Simelane said. 

Hillary, in response, told the MPs that the aircraft that the MPs said must be bought last year was there. It was still undergoing refurbishments to conform to standards where it could be seen as being fit for the King.  

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