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The King gets jet as birthday gift

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MBABANE - His Majesty King Mswati III has received a gift of a DC-9 aircraft ‘from development partners and friends of the Kingdom of Swaziland’ who elected to remain anonymous.

The ‘gift’ to His Majesty was announced by the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, during a press conference held at Cabinet offices on Tuesday afternoon.

The aircraft arrived just five days after the King celebrated his birthday at Nhlangano, where he was also showered with various gifts, including a cake which was a gift from Taiwan, among other gifts. The Prime Minister told the media that the DC-9 will be used by Their Majesties to travel abroad for national engagements.

However, the head of government said the donors of the aircraft have elected to remain anonymous. The Prime Minister was also coy with information relating to the value of the aircraft, instead, saying that ‘when a person presents someone with a gift, he or she does not disclose the cost involved, but simply gives it to him or her’.

On Tuesday, Cabinet ministers went to the Matsapha international airport to see the aeroplane which had been presented to His Majesty.

"His Majesty’s Government has the honour to announce to the nation that His Majesty King Mswati III and Ingwenyama today received a gift of a DC-9 Aircraft from development partners and friends of the Kingdom of Swaziland to be for Their Majesties’ travels abroad  for engagements of national interest. The donors of this magnificent gift have elected to remain anonymous. On behalf of His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, the government of Swaziland and the entire Swazi nation, we thank all these donors most sincerely for this kind gesture," he said.

The aircraft is said to have landed at the Matsapha International Airport on Tuesday afternoon and only Cabinet ministers and close members of the royal family were allowed to have a look at it.

The press conference, which lasted for about 15 minutes, was attended by, among others, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mtiti Fakudze, Secretary to Cabinet Mbuso Dlamini and Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane.

Security stops taking of plane’s pictures

MATSAPHA – The media and people were refused permission to take pictures of the aircraft on Tuesday.

This was after word had got out that there was a special plane that had landed at Matsapha International Airport.

One bystander who was snapping at the tarmac was called aside by the security officials and asked to delete the pictures. This left many people to speculate on what the plane was about.

At about 4pm there were many security officials at the airport and when our photographer tried to take a picture he was questioned and told to stop.

There were, however, two Cabinet ministers’ vehicles already parked there and they are said to have been in the VIP section of the airport with other senior government officials to inspect the plane. Later on in the day there was a call from the Government Press Office that there would be a press conference at 7pm, it was later changed to 6.30pm.

The conference was convened to officially announce the arrival of the plane as a gift for the King. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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