Swaziland: R4.8bn for a Prestige Eswatini Project – for a Summit Unlikely to Happen

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An extravagant prestige project allegedly commissioned by eSwatini’s absolute monarch Mswati III for the hosting of 2020’s African Union summit has more than quadrupled in price to R4.8-billion, amaBhungane has been told.

It has also been learnt that eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) has not formally applied to stage the summit and is considered unlikely to host the event.

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The project in question is the International Convention Centre (ICC) and Five-Star Hotel currently under construction in the hotels hub of the Ezulwini Valley, between Mbabane and Manzini.

Given the depressed state of eSwatini’s hospitality industry, it is widely seen as a potential white elephant.

A senior source in eSwatini’s ministry of finance told amaBhungane that the cost of constructing the two structures was now set at R4.8-billion — a massive escalation from the R1-billion reported in the media in 2013, when the project was first unveiled.

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Bertram Stewart, principal secretary in the ministry of economic planning and development, which is overseeing the project, would neither confirm nor deny the new cost projection.

“We are not going to entertain figures from ghosts who cannot be named. Kindly attribute your figures to your sources,” he said in an emailed response.

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“When the project is…

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