Former CEO of Royal Trust accused of slandering king

2014-12-23 00:00

THE gloves came off yesterday as Royal Household Trust chairperson Judge Jerome Ngwenya accused his former CEO of being behind weekend reports accusing the Zulu monarch of being a spendthrift.

King Goodwill Zwelithini is far from broke, nor has he approached anyone for money, Ngwenya said.

The Sunday Times reported that the king is requesting R10 million to bail out his bankrupt Royal Household Trust.

The report revealed a list detailing the king’s alleged extravagant spending.

The claims included: that the monarch spent R4 million on the king’s latest ­wedding to Queen Zola Mafu and that in February the king wanted to purchase imported military regalia worth R2,8 million for himself and his family members.

Ngwenya, who is also the king’s adviser, accused Njabulo Buthelezi, former CEO of the Royal Household Trust, of “using the media to bad mouth the royal family”.

Buthelezi denied leaking information about the trust to the press. “I would never bad mouth the king or the royal household, I respect him very much,” said Buthelezi.

Ngwenya and Buthelezi’s relationship soured after Buthelezi resigned as CEO of the trust in June this year. The pair reportedly clashed over procurement of services and goods.

Buthelezi is currently challenging the trust for constructive dismissal in a matter before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) resuming in February next year.

“The trust is not the king, it is a separate institution used to support the royal household. Buthelezi took the problems facing the trust and the royal household and made them to appear as though they were the king’s personal problems,” said Ngwenya.

“The king is not broke or bankrupt, he is far from it, nor has he asked anyone for money. It is the state institutions, Royal Household Trust and the Department of the Royal Household, that are facing a financial crisis,” he said.

He accused Buthelezi of portraying the royal family in a bad light.

“He is creating an impression that the king and his family are irresponsible and live beyond their means. He is throwing mud at the royal family’s face, even though they have done nothing to him,” said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said the trust was allocated R54 million this financial year. “Buthelezi failed to recover R5 million owed to the trust by the department in the last financial year. His failure had a consequence on this financial year. The department was meant to transfer R22 million over four quarters, including the R5 million that was owed.

“As the CEO, he was supposed to advise the king that the demands were not in line with the budget. The king does not get quotations, the trust gets them. He never presented anything to the board of trustees. The so called imported military regalia that allegedly cost R2,8 million was never purchased because it was too expensive,” said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said Buthelezi failed to conduct his duties as a CEO.

Buthelezi said he did not want to discuss his grievances with the Trust.

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