How much Kings, Queens, and other traditional leaders get paid in South Africa

 ·21 Aug 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially declared the salaries and allowances of traditional leaders and members of traditional houses.

The Department of Traditional Affairs is responsible for overseeing traditional affairs and supporting the development of traditional communities in South Africa.

The South African government said the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) seeks to promote the role of traditional leadership within the country and act as an advisory board to the national government.

There are provincial houses of traditional leaders in seven provinces in South Africa, in addition to the national house – including in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and the North West.

Traditional leaders are instrumental in the strategy for rural development, and the government has implemented several pieces of legislation to ensure their necessary contribution to societal progress.

Traditional councils can further be involved in development matters and are allowed to enter into partnerships and service-delivery agreements with the government in all spheres.

South Africa’s latest gazetted remuneration covers a wide range of roles varied between full and part-time positions in both national and provincial houses of traditional leaders.

Recognised kings and queens are permitted to collect an annual salary as determined by the president and based on recommendations by the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

According to the recommendations, traditional leaders and members of traditional houses will receive a remuneration increase of 3%.

Note: NHTL = National House of Traditional Leaders | PHTL = Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

PositionAnnual Salary
King/QueenR1 315 429
Principal Traditional Leader: PTLR1 210 199
Chairperson: NHTLR990 106
Full-Time Chairperson: PHTLR815 490
Deputy Chairperson: NHTLR757 282
Full-Time Deputy Chairperson: PHTLR698 876
Full-Time Member: NHTLR440 393
Full-Time Member: PHTLR377 516
Senior Traditional LeaderR287 422
Headmen/HeadwomenR123 508

The King’s salary

In March 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu as the King of the AmaZulu Kingship, making the country now have eight officially recognised kings.

Former Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma revealed in a parliamentary Q&A last year the salaries paid to each of the country’s kings over the last five years based on the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers’ recommendations, which now include the leaders’ pay increase for 2022 and 2023, as outlined in the table below.

YearAnnual salaryChange
2016R1 126 057
2017R1 033 438-8.2%
2018R1 126 057+8.9%
2019R1 206 147+7.1%
2020R1 239 918+2.8%
2021R1 239 9180%
2022R1 277 116+3%
2023R1 315 429+3%

Fringe benefits are also given to all traditional leaders by their respective provincial governments. However, there is no specific information available on the benefits each province provides to their kings as this differs from province to province.

Read: Mansions on stand-by for Ramaphosa and Mashatile – while taxpayers foot the R100 million bill

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