Alert / Media Alert

Sikhuphe Airport: timeline of failed promises

MISA-Swaziland | Alert
February 4 2014

Swaziland has been promised a new airport for many years. Many have questioned whether a new airport is the best way for the country to spend its money.

Bertram Stewart, principal security in the ministry of economic planning and development, has reportedly told journalists that he is not accountable to the media.

Stewart is facing questions about contracts and tenders associated with the airport.

The Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) has said the ministry of economic planning is responsible for awarding contracts for the airport.

In a Times Sunday article on February 2, it was reported that SWACAA has “mentioned that Bertram Stewart featured prominently in most deliberations involving the airport contracts”.

Here are some key dates in the saga of Sikhuphe and Stewart:

October 2010 – Bertram Stewart says Sikhuphe airport would be open by the end of 2010.

February 2011 – Stewart says airport will be open by the end of June 2011.

April 2011 – Stewart says airport will be open by the December 2011.

November 2012 – Stewart says airport will be open in early 2013.

January 2014 – Stewart facing questions about airport contracts and tenders.

February 2014 – Reported that Stewart says he is not accountable to the media

February 2014 – Airport remains closed for business

Media reports in Swaziland suggest Sikhupe airport was initially meant to cost about E500 million ($US50 million) but has since blown out to E3 billion ($US300 million).

Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world and about 70 percent of the population live in poverty.

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