D-G aims to tighten Zulu royalty’s belt

2010-03-10 00:00

ACTING Director-General for KwaZulu-Natal, Roger Govender, yesterday introduced an intensive programme to transform the Royal Household Department into a public entity, as envisaged by the provincial government.

Addressing the premier and royal household portfolio committee’s pre-budget hearing, held in KwaMaphumulo yesterday, Govender said plans to establish the Royal Trust and list it as a public entity are at an advanced stage.

The aim is to transform the department, making it self-sufficient by generating its own funds, instead of being reliant on taxpayers’ money.

However, this transformation will have serious repercussions for the department’s staff, and negotiations are under way with organised labour and employees about their transfer to the Royal Trust.

It is envisaged that a total of 63 employees could be identified as “surplus labour”, with the cost for their severance packages expected to total over R3,5 million.

Last week, Finance MEC Ina Cronjé increased the royal household’s budget allocation to R43,8 million for the 2010/11 financial year.

The royal household will have to pay back R3 million from its current budget, as it had overspent by R2,7 million by mid-year last year.

It is envisaged that 60% of this budget will go towards staff salaries and administrative work, while 40% will be allocated for the day-to-day running of the king’s palaces and other assets.

Govender outlined the strategic objectives the provincial government intends to attain for the Royal Household with the budget.

“We intend to support His Majesty the King to fulfil his legislative mandate and to design and implement a sustainability programme of action in respect of palaces as well as to contribute to the enhancement of the Zulu brand,” the acting director-general said in his presentation.

Among the cost-cutting measures to be implemented are reducing the king’s local and overseas trips to 24 and three, respectively, per annum.

Each queen will be able to make 12 local trips and one overseas trip per annum.

Events to be facilitated by the king have been decreased to 15 per annum, and 22 vehicles have been allocated to the royal household.

There will be no infrastructural projects for the king, and only R3,3 million has been put aside for the maintenance and repair of his palaces.

Only one palace will be refurbished per annum, and only emergency repairs will be done.

Outlining the work done so far in the establishment of the Royal Trust, Govender said trustees and a CEO have been appointed.

The listing of the trust as a public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act is still under way, and transfer payments will be made to the trust as per the approved business plan.



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