Premier gets rare praise

2011-03-25 00:00

A PROMISED bottle of red wine for sorting out the financial mess in the royal household was yesterday presented to Premier Zweli Mkhize by finance portfolio committee chairperson Belinda Scott.

In a surprise about-turn, the Democratic Alliance recognised the broader appeal of the monarchy and that King Goodwill Zwelithini is not simply — as it had often been stated before — “the king of the Zulus”.

Scott told the premier she did not think this was something that would happen in her lifetime. She said she was impressed by the progress made by the Royal Household Trust and the level of financial management that has been achieved.

In presenting the debate on the royal household, Mkhize noted that 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s ascension as king.

The premier expressed his disappointment at negative letters about the king in the media.

DA caucus leader John Steenhuisen said he is supportive of the creation of the Royal Household Trust. He suggested that one way of dealing with negative perceptions is to place the king at the centre of public life and allow communities to realise how much the king does in terms of social upliftment and nation building. He felt this has not been adequately communicated.

The budget for the royal household for 2011/12 is R55,028 million. Of this, more than R11 million will go to the maintenance of the royal household infrastructure with the renovation and refurbishment of seven palaces; R3,608 million will go to the king’s farms. The legislature heard that two farms are showing potential to be financially viable.

The anniversary of the king’s inauguration will be marked with visits to communities and outreach programmes to the sick and the poor. He was installed as the eighth monarch of the Zulus at a traditional ceremony at Nongoma on December 3, 1971.

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