Zulu king lives like a king
Jetsetting with his entourage on private jets and choppers to weddings, funerals and other kingly activities by Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini has cost the KwaZulu-Natal government nearly R900 000 a month this year.
This was revealed by the royal household department yesterday during the province's finance committee meeting in the legislature.
During the meeting the departmental officials admitted that they failed to control the king's travels.
The department's chief financial officer, Mduduzi Mthembu, also failed to give the committee a detailed breakdown of Zwelithini's trips, save to say that about R820 000 was used monthly for his private jets and choppers.
"High expenditure under this line item was mainly due to His Majesty the King and his entourage," the committee was told.
Mthembu said this was due to the king being involved in several activities. The events he attended include 40 years of reign celebrations, opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and attending King Shaka Day in the province.
The king was also a guest in Gauteng and many other government events, where he was accompanied by a delegation of abantwana (princes and princesses).
He also sent massive delegations to the weddings and funerals of other royal families in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Another costly expenditure incurred was maintaining the fleet of cars for the king's five wives and car hire when their cars were being repaired. "The queens' fleet was very old, hence the [Royal Household] Trust has now provided them with new cars."
Also, costs for upgrading, repairs and maintenance of the royal residences, approved by the department last year, had to be carried over to the current financial year because of over-spending in the previous financial year.
The costs include converting garages into offices at the Lindi-Zulu palace at a total cost of R105 000, and extensions to the king's bedroom totalling R140 000 to include a dressing room and a small lounge.
A total of R600 000 was requested for the construction of a new porte-cochère (structure through which a motor vehicle can pass) over the vehicle turning circle at the palace's main entrance.
Also requested were R900 000 to reconstruct the king's first house, which is currently derelict, and R8-million to construct a new residence at Enyokeni palace.
R1.1-million was put forward for upgrades/extensions and R1.7-million to build four new rondavels at Ingwavuma palace.
The sum of R1-million was requested to build a gym, jacuzzi, ablution facilities and garages at the KwaKhangela palace, and R170 000 to replace the existing cold room at Dlamahlahla palace.
These upgrades were requested before the department requested R17-million for palatial expenditure over the next three financial years.