KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu announced this week that Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, would receive R58.9 million from government over the course of the 2017/18 financial year – an increase over the R48.8 million he received the year before, according to a report by Times Live.
This amounts to Zwelithini being given approximately R550 million by government over the course of the past 10 years, according to the report, with Zwelithini allocated R36.5 million during the 2007/08 financial year.
The money will be used to maintain Zwelithini’s royal palaces, his lifestyle, his six wives and close to 30 children.
Traditional kings and senior leaders are symbolic figureheads in the country with little political power. However, these rulers play an important role in local disputes as well as in playing advisory roles to government – and in the lives of the traditional rural populations.
As of 2010, the South African government recognizes seven royal families in the country, after a recommendation by a traditional leadership commission that South Africa lose six of its kings and queens. Of the 13 recognized traditional kingdoms recognized previously, only seven will remain once the current incumbent rulers of the identified kingdoms have passed away.
These are the current salaries of traditional leaders and other officials as published in a February 2017 government gazette.
|King/Queen||1 126 057|
|Chairperson: NHTL||817 842|
|Full Time Chairperson: PHTL||673 603|
|Deputy Chairperson: NHTL||625 524|
|Full Time Deputy Chairperson: PHTL||577 281|
|Full Time Member: NHTL||356 923|
|Full Time Member: PHTL||305 959|
|Senior Traditional Leader||228 650|