King Zwelithini's free guest houses will help uphold his royal status - spokesperson

2017-07-12 20:43
King Goodwill Zwelithini (Amanda Khoza, News24)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is trying to uphold the status of the royal family by using three renovated government houses in Ulundi to accommodate his international visitors, his spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The family did not understand why people were complaining that Zwelithini had received the houses for free from the KwaZulu-Natal government, royal family spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu told News24.

Zulu said the king had initially wanted to take all 15 houses that provincial MECs used from 1994 to 2004 when the KwaZulu-Natal legislature was still in Ulundi - before it was moved to Pietermaritzburg.

However, 12 of them were allocated to the provincial health department. "He wanted to turn the houses into a royal villa for his international guests.

"He has travelled the world and he has seen how other countries accommodate their guests of honour," he said. The provincial government had abandoned the houses and they were dilapidated and vandalised when Zwelithini asked Premier Willies Mchunu for them in 2014.

"At one stage, [the] government wanted to auction the houses. The king couldn’t tolerate that as he is the custodian of the people and government funds," he said.

Zwelithini was concerned about all the abandoned government properties across the province, as they turned into dens for criminals when they could be used for community upliftment projects, Zulu said.

Zwelithini gets an annual budget of over R50m from the provincial government and an annual salary of more than R1m. He has six palaces in Nongoma and one in Ulundi.

Outcry

Several Facebook users expressed their dissatisfaction with the development. Here are the reactions of four: Andre van Graan wrote: "South Africa isn't a monarchy, don't see why there should be a king. And if it's a cultural thing, then the government has no responsibility in it. He should start to show return on investment. Just another a (sic) aggrandised ego. Should tell him that Zuma already thinks he is the chief and should Zulu's not be responsible for their political representative?"

Sharon White: "He is not our king, so why must our hard earned taxes go to help him have a lavish lifestyle whilst the people on the ground don't have their own homes?"

Imran Sheik: "And if only he cared for his Zulu people. But I guess he will choose money over his people. I bet you he will turn them into B&B in the coming future to increase his monthly income."

Laila Ellen Iyaloo: "This is why South Africans will always be in poverty. So long as it's not a white man a blind eye will be turned." Mchunu’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said residents of Ulundi, including Zwelithini, had raised concerns about the state of the houses. The provincial departments of public works and health and the premier’s office had had them renovated.

Sibiya said the provincial cabinet had decided to use the houses to accommodate health professionals working in rural hospitals. It, however, resolved to use some to accommodate guests whom Zwelithini had invited to attend ceremonies and other events. This would save taxpayers money, as guests would not have to stay in expensive hotels, he said.

Read more on:    willies mchunu  |  goodwill zwelithini  |  durban

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