MBABANE: Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso is allegedly receiving payments from taxpayer’s money as a ‘ghost’ police officer despite holding a powerful position in Cabinet,an independent investigation reveals.
Princess Skhanyiso, a powerful and politically connected first-born daughter of King Mswati was allegedly included as a beneficiary in the government payment system on or around October 2010 in the midst of a police recruitment process that was marred by allegations of corruption and nepotism.
The Communications Minister who currently earns over R70,000.00 for her Cabinet position while sitting at home after allegations suggesting that she was pregnant emerged, is commanding huge influence within the police service, far above National Commissioner William Dlamini and Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini who serves as Minister of Police.
This disclosure comes in the midst of government struggles to pay civil servants their Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) citing financial constraints, with the International Monitory Fund (IMF)warning that the country’s wage bill that now stood around R700million might soon ground the operations of government.
Reached for comments, Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) said to the issue of ‘royal ghost employees’ was affecting them as civil servants.
“This issue is very thorny to us now, we are not receiving the Cost of Living Adjustment because of these ghost employees that comes from royalty. What is most painful is that these ghost employees are paid huge monies for doing absolutely nothing, unlike other civil servants who work tirelessly for their salaries. Now they are talking about 3% that will push the low-income earners deeper into poverty because government will then put them into one huge tax bracket despite that they received a low income,” he said.
The SNAT boss further mentioned that an investigation by government through the Ministry of Public Service to uncover the ‘ghost employees’ was frustrated after it was discovered that it will expose royalty, since then, the country’s struggles to sustain the wage bill has been attributed to the large number of civil servants without specific mentioning of royalty.
But an independent investigation by this Swaziland News disclosed that on or around October 2010, Isaac Magagula, the then National Commissioner of Police allegedly facilitated the inclusion of Princess Sikhanyiso in the government payment system through a police recruitment exercise that was marred by allegations of corruption and or nepotism. Reached for comments, Senator Isaac Magagula, the former National Commissioner of Police said Police Chief William Dlamini was the rightful person to respond on this matter.
“I am no longer the National Commissioner and if I did this, I wasn’t alone or in my personal capacity hence the one occupying that office now must respond on the matter. I believe he will have answers to your questions,” said the Senator.
But William Tsintsibala Dlamini, the National Commissioner of Police denied this when responding to questions from this publication.
“This is absolutely un-true, it has never happened,” said the National Commissioner when responding to our questions.
A questionnaire was sent to Minister Princess Sikhanyiso over this allegation, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report. However, the Princess recently sent series of text messages threatening this journalist for publishing stories that touch on her, the King and the royal family.
But evidence in our possession further suggests that on or around 03 November 2010, the Times of Swaziland, in its Saturday edition reported that Princess Sikhanyiso had joined the police service, she was photographed in a traditional police uniform. As quoted by the Times, Wendy Hleta, the then eSwatini Police Spokesperson allegedly confirmed to the newspaper that the police were recruiting to fill about 400 posts that were vacant at the time.
But the article was allegedly censored as it did not expose the motive behind the inclusion of the Princess in the police service, instead, it portrayed her as a person who joined the law enforcement agency for the love of the organization.
“The Inkhosatana (Princess) had earlier expressed her interest to join the police force, unlike two of her brothers who have joined and graduated from the Army” read the article published by the Times.
An investigation by this publication further revealed that despite her alleged desire to join the organization merely for the love of being a police officer as previously reported, Princess Sikhanyiso never practiced as a law enforcement officer ever since she was recruited.
Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network(SSN) said it was actually not Princess Sikhanyiso alone who benefits from tax-payers money through multiple salaries.
“Most members of the royal family are earning double or triple salaries, some of them are within the security forces in particular the defense force and security agencies at large, where you find that a senior Prince earns a salary of a General or a senior official. From there, the person is then deployed somewhere but the salary of the previous employment is not stopped. So it’s true that Sikhanyiso is one of the beneficiaries, she is not alone though as many of them earn double or even triple salaries,” said the SSN Spokesperson.
Minister Princess Skhanyiso who was recruited by the police