King’s budget team praised

2010-11-19 00:00

FOR the first time in years, the team in charge of the affairs of the Royal Household department received praise from the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature’s finance portfolio committee at its meeting in Pietermaritzburg yesterday for the mid-term budget reviews.

After the acting head of the royal household department, Roger Govender, presented the mid-term budget report, the chairperson of the Legislature’s finance portfolio committee, Belinda Scott, known for her exacting scrutiny, commended the team.

In previously years there were numerous battles when the royal household management appeared before the finance portfolio committee to account for the management of its funds.

According to the mid-term report, the department has so far used R27,6million of its projected budget of R43,3million, and the R15,7million remaining is expected to meet the department’s financial obligations for the rest of the financial year.

It seems the establishment of the Royal Household Trust and the performance of the new team in charge of the affairs of this formerly problematic department are paying dividends in terms of improving the department’s image.

The royal household falls under the department of the Premier.

Its Ndabezinhle Sibiya, its spokesperson, confirmed that the department is significantly improving its financial management.

Sibiya said the long-term vision of the trust is to ensure that the royal family’s farms are able to generate an income to meet the needs of the Zulu monarch and his family.

During the presentation of the department’s budget earlier this year, strict cost-cutting measures were announced.

They included a limit on the number of domestic and international trips for King Goodwill Zwelithini and the royal family.

The department’s chief financial officer, Mthokozisi Mthembu, has come under fire from certain quarters for his strict financial control of the finances of the department.

The director-general of the province, advocate Nhlanhla Ngidi, led the premier’s office team that presented its mid-term budget presentation.

During the presentation, members of the committee were told that the trust has yet to generate funds for the department, but there are a number of fundraising events in the pipeline.

In the long term, the trust is expected to run the affairs of the royal household as a government entity, which will enable it to generate its own funds.

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