Royal overhaul on the way

2009-07-24 00:00

THE Royal Household, which in recent years gained a reputation for shambolic management and overspending, is set for a overhaul. KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize in his budget speech yesterday outlined a decisive turnaround plan aimed at restoring the dignity of the Royal Household and strengthening management.

Mkhize said the Royal Household as an institution is a blend of democratic principles and traditional links to the past. It also has strong value in relation to how the province is known.

He added that it is important for KZN to use this institution as a brand that will draw investment and tourism.

He noted that King Goodwill Zwelithini himself has extensive links with royal families from other countries, who regularly visit him.

In addition, the king has played an important role in forging unity within the province.

According to Mkhize, the plan involves strengthening the Royal Trust, promulgated by former Premier Sbu Ndebele.

He said a board of trustees, a chief executive officer and senior staff to manage the Royal Household will be appointed within weeks.

The trust will work in a similar manner to the other listed public entities, to be audited annually and the report debated in the legislature.

“The trust will manage what matters pertaining to the upkeep of the Royal Household and create capacity to generate alternative sources of revenue.

“The focus will be to ultimately achieve a state of financial self-sufficiency of the institution. It is too early to postulate when this is likely to be, but this house will be the judge,” Mkhize said.

A smaller staff component will remain civil servants and they will be subject to the regulations of working in government.

The premier said the conditions of the palaces leave much to be desired. These need a long-term plan to upgrade and to be available as points of attraction as the province of KwaZulu-Natal is rebranded to enhance tourism as one sector to drive economic development into the future.

He added there is also a need to create research capacity to unearth a lot of oral history not previously recorded as part of strengthening the heritage of the province.

“This should be combined with the need for a museum that will contain the information and artifacts to tell the story of the Zulu Kingdom, the legendary King Shaka and all the battles and incidents that shaped the history of this region,” Mkhize said.

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