Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini's budget set to reach R75m in 2021/22, estimates show

07 March 2019 - 18:35 By BONGANI MTHETHWA
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King Goodwill Zwelithini.
King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini's annual budget is set to be R75m during the 2021/22 financial year and it will increase slightly this year to R66m from  R65.8m in 2018.

This is according to the estimates of the provincial revenue and expenditure for 2019/20 prepared by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial treasury and presented during finance MEC Belinda Scott’s budget speech in the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

Premier Willies Mchunu’s office, which is responsible for supporting the king and the royal family was allocated R795m but is yet to deliver its budget vote which will determine how exactly how much will be allocated to the Zulu royal family. The royal household budget was moved to the premier's office following years of excessive spending by the royal family.

The over-spending projected in the 2018/19 revised estimates for the royal household related to higher than expected event costs such as two royal funerals accounting for the negative growth in 2019/20.

The 2019/20 MTEF (three-year financial period) also provided for inflationary increases in the money transferred to the royal household trust, as well as for the king and his ceremonies such as Umkhosi Womhlanga (reed dance), Umkhosi Wamaganu (annual amarula festival), Umkhosi Woselwa (Thanksgiving), and homecoming of Abakhwetha (group of initiates).

Other inflationary increases related to various operational costs and renovations of the king’s eight palaces.

An amount of R1.3m was approved as a rollover from 2016/17 and related to the rollover of R8m from 2015/16 to 2016/17 which could not be entirely spent in 2016/17 as a result of delays that were experienced with renovations at KwaKhangela Palace.

The projects included roof waterproofing at KwaKhangela Palace, the children’s houses, gogos’ hut and servants quarters.

"The increase in the 2018/19 adjusted appropriation is due to reprioritisation to address higher than expected costs for completing the tilling project at Enyokeni Palace. The 2019/20 MTEC provides for the upgrading of the palaces Enyokeni, KwaKhangela and Dlamahlahla"” read the estimates.

The monarch — who has often come under scrutiny for his lavish spending — has maintained that he was entitled to the budget as it was derived from tax revenue generated by his subjects.

Attempts to make the royal household self-sustainable through the establishment of the royal household trust have not yielded any positive results thus far. The trust, established more than a decade ago, receives financial support from the premier’s office to cater for responsibilities which include the upkeep of the king’s eight palaces, tuition for his children, transportation and medical care of the royal family.

The trust is also responsible for the upkeep of the king’s farms. Early last year, it was announced the royal household trust would be spending R650,000 on a brand makeover of the Zulu king. The trust said it was planning to hire US-based consulting firm B&C International to handle the rebranding of the Zulu monarch.

The trust had hoped that through its revenue generation plan for the royal household it would be able to identify and attract foreign investment opportunities that would strengthen the economic viability of the monarchy.

But during the official opening of the provincial legislature last year, King Goodwill Zwelithini lashed out at the royal household trust for its failure. The king, who receives an annual salary of over R1m, said the trust had failed and he did not benefit from it.

"I'm not getting paid from the budget of the the royal household trust. Maybe some people think I am getting a salary," he said.

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