Swaziland's King Mswati III addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at the United Nations headquarters. Photo: Frank Franklin II / AP

JOHANNESBURG - One million Swazi Elangeni (nearly R989 000) which had been allocated and intended for retired and disabled people in Swaziland has been given to King Mswati III to help pay for his 50th birthday party. 

“The money has been donated by the Swaziland National Provident Fund (SNPF) for the so-called 50/50 Celebrations on April 19 to mark the King’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of Swaziland’s Independence from Great Britain,” Richard Rooney wrote on blog Swazi Media.

“Already all police officers and soldiers in the kingdom have had money deducted from their salaries to contribute to the celebrations."

Swaziland’s Sunday Observer reported that initially the SNPF had pledged E250,000 ($21,000)  but later upgraded the donation for the birthday of sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. 

The SNPF was established in 1974 as a retirement savings scheme to provide benefits to retirees or those who became disabled and unable to work.

All employers in Swaziland are required by law to become contributing members of the fund, and must pay a contribution for every eligible staff member. The employee’s share (one half of the stipulated amount) is deducted from wages.

Mbabane has already pledged $7.5 million for a fleet of luxury BMW cars to transport dignitaries on the day of celebrations.

- African News Agency (ANA)