Swazi queen’s R17k a night hotel splurgeComment on this story
The second wife of Swazi King Mswati III has been living at an exclusive hotel in Joburg paying more than R17 000 a night for her stay, The Star has learnt.
For at least a month, Sindi LaMotsa has been living in the presidential suite of the Westcliff Hotel to be close to her son, who is being treated at a private Joburg hospital.
The king’s son, Prince Majaha, is recovering in a Netcare hospital in Joburg after he was involved in a motorbike accident last month and critically injured.
When contacted for comment, a manager at the hotel, who refused to give her name, denied LaMotsa was at the hotel.
She said it was against their policy to divulge information about their guests.
She confirmed, however, that LaMotsa had stayed at the Westcliff before. But several hotel sources and individuals close to the queen confirmed that LaMotsa was staying at the luxurious hotel, where the presidential suite costs R17 250 a night, and includes breakfast.
For a 30-day stay the bill would be a whopping R517 500, or more than half a million rand.
On Wednesday, Swaziland government spokesman Percy Simelane said the royal family was paying for Prince Majaha’s medical expenses and for the queen’s accommodation at the hotel.
“This is a private matter. It is handled by the royal family privately,” Simelane said.
According to a report in the Swazi media, the Swazi government allocates a budget of R400 million a year to the upkeep of the royal family.
When questioned about how the royal family could justify spending thousands on luxury accommodation and private healthcare in SA while ordinary citizens were struggling to get medication from public hospitals, Simelane said: “We have our own challenges, but the situation hasn’t come to a complete standstill.”
Simelane said Mswati, who has been criticised for his lavish lifestyle, was the head of state and could afford to pay for his son’s wellbeing and the queen’s stay in SA.
“If President Zuma’s son was admitted to Milpark I would not ask who is paying for his medical expenses,” he retorted.
Simelane said the prince had to be treated in SA because he had “complicated injuries”.
Majaha was injured a few days before his father’s birthday on April 19, when he turned 44, and got a private jet, in spite of the country’s financial collapse.
Simelane, however, denied there was a crisis in the country.
He said it was an exaggeration to say that.
The queen’s accommodation expenses in Joburg and her son’s private healthcare have caused outrage among ordinary Swazis in the poverty-stricken country.
A Swazi citizen, who refused to be identified, said she had recently taken a relative to a public hospital after a car accident, but was offered only painkillers.
“When the king’s son is involved in an accident, he is rushed to South Africa to get the best treatment at a private hospital. This is unacceptable,” she said.
Meanwhile, Swaziland Diaspora Platform spokeswoman Ntombenhle Khathwane has slammed the Swazi government.
“We hope the government will realise there are many other Swazis like Prince Majaha who face life-threatening medical emergencies, but do not have the luxury of a prompt medical response like the young prince.
“These are the Swazis who die every day in ill-equipped Swazi hospitals owing to the government’s neglect of our health system,” Khathwane said.
Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesman Lucky Lukhele said the health system had collapsed in Swaziland.
“You can get sick at your own risk in Swaziland.
“There is no country that can allow people to die from TB, which is a curable disease,” he said.
He added there was no doubt that it was the taxpayers who were paying for the queen’s stay at the hotel as well as Majaha’s medical expenses.