‘Royal sacking complex’

2015-02-11 00:00

TO get suspended indefinitely from the Zulu Royal Household on full pay, all you need to do is get on the wrong side of a royal.

The KZN Legislature heard yesterday that royal decree suspensions are so rife that the Royal Household Department, which manages the affairs of the Zulu royal family, is considering holding a “workshop [for the] royal family on labour laws”.

In one case, a former employee spent 1 238 days on suspension because they were instructed to “leave their place of work” by a royal.

Household officials came in for a thrashing by the KZN Legislature’s public accounts committee (Scopa) on a range of issues, with ANC committee member Sboniso Duma stating that the ­department was in “ICU”.

But the department, which by April will fall under the Office of the Premier and be known as the Royal Household Trust, said there is little they can do.

CFO Mduduzi Mthembu said: “The employees were not suspended by the ­department but … were instructed to leave their place of work by the royal family.”

The department said it could not find them alternative work until they “exited their employment”. The man who clocked up over 1 200 days eventually reached ­retirement age. Another royal-suspended employee, the committee was told, died.

The premier’s director-general, Nhlanhla Ngidi, said there are ­“complexities in the Royal Household”.

“Staff members on extended leave have been chased away either by one of the queens or even the king himself without consulting the department. The staff ­relationship between them and the queens or king is regulated outside of the Labour Relations [Act]. So if a queen wakes up one day and feels that she no longer needs the services of a particular person, the queen will not refer the matter to the CFO or myself,” said Ngidi.

He said he has “personally experienced this” and raised the issue with the queens.

“When there is no staff in the palaces then they [the royals] complain to me. When I investigate I am now confronted with these factors. If I refer it to the Labour Relations Act, well then that’s another ­story.”

Ngidi said the Royal Household Department is not to blame. “It is not as if the department allowed a staff member to go on a paid holiday with taxpayers’ money. This comes as result of the complex situation to do with the royal household.”

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