While South Africa’s royal families and traditional leaders cost the country in excess of R650 million a year, a new report shows that this figure may not be enough, especially when it comes to the spending habits of Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini.
It was discovered, and reported in the Natal Witness recently, that Royal Household Trust, which looks after King Zwelithini and his family of six wives and their 40 children, has run into financial difficulty.
The trust’s annual report for the year ended in March, revealed that liabilities exceeded assets by R3.2-million, and that it had a R539,000 deficit, casting doubt over its “ability to operate as a going concern”.
In KwaZulu Natal, the provincial government even places a budget vote for the Department of Royal Affairs, specifically dedicated to the Zulu Royal Family and the upkeep of King Zwelithini’s palaces.
In its 2014/15 budget, the department received R54.2 million for the king, which was reportedly swallowed up within months, used to purchase new vehicles for the king’s eight wives.
The king then requested a further R10 million bailout from government, and was awarded R5 million.
In previous years, the Zulu King’s reach into taxpayers’ pockets extended beyond R60 million.
Zwelithini receives an annual salary of R1.03 million a year.
Through the Royal Household Trust’s annual report covering the reporting period of 2014/15, the Witness revealed that ‘Royal Household Expenses’ included:
- R263,000 spent on groceries
- R293,000 on cellphone costs
- R4.2 million on events
- R818.000 on education
- R1.5 million for a “Stipend to Royal Family”
- R628,000 on travelling expenses.
The Sunday Times also reported that a R1.5-million bill for the king’s lavish wedding to Swazi-born Queen Zola Mafu in July 2014, remains unpaid .
King Zwelithini’s wedding coincided with his 60th birthday celebrations, which cost R4.2 million. That bill was only settled last month, the paper said.
This included R10,000 for a birthday cake and R120,000 on crockery and cutlery.
Taxpayers reportedly forked out almost R3 million on private flights for King Zwelithini to attend social and official engagements over a 15 month period ending in August last year.
The Sunday Tribune reported he had received a R5 million bailout from the provincial government in February.
Documents last year showed that R2.5 million was allocated for the king’s travelling expenses, while R10.3 million was allocated for his palaces and R2.2 million for his six wives.
In May, the Sunday Tribune reported that the Zulu monarchy was buying six new Mercedes Benz E-Class sedans, collectively worth nearly R5 million, for the king’s six wives, while another was to be kept as a “back-up”.
Reporting with News24
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