IFP defends Zulu king from controversy

2008-04-16 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in the Legislature has defended the Zulu monarch over the extravagant expenditure incurred by the Royal Household Department.

The controversial department recently made headlines after revelations by treasury that about half a million rands have been spent on clothing for the Zulu queens in just five months. Yesterday, a total budget of R39 million for the department was tabled by Premier S’bu Ndebele at the Legislature.

“This is just not enough, if you consider that in 2006, the province welcomed about 1,4 million tourists who spent a total of R8,8 million.

“These people came to the province, which is being sold to tourists as ‘the kingdom of the Zulus’. Allocations to the king should be made with this [that he is a tourist attraction] in mind,” said IFP MPL Thulasizwe Buthelezi during a debate into the budget.

He also lambasted the media for its “sustained attack” on King Goodwill Zwelithini.

“The king has become a political football for the media and this is a disgrace. We have noted these attacks on the king’s person. We take them very seriously …”

He also defended the expenditure on clothing for the queens, saying: “So what if so much was spent on clothing the queens? The Zulus are a big nation. If providing for the king is such a huge burden on the ANC-led government, let them say so. We can take care of our king.”

Responding to Buthelezi, Ndebele accused the IFP MPL of cheap politicking. “In fact, when we wanted to pass the provincial constitution recognising the monarch, all the IFP members walked out. It is also tortured logic to say that because there are so many tourists, then so much should be allocated. You will now be saying that just because so many tourists come to the country each year, the president [of the country] should be paid so much.”

The DA’s Roger Burrows and ACDP’s Jo-Ann Downs called for the provincial government to ensure that the department complies with the budget.

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