Zulu king wants R18m for more palaces

Pietermaritzburg - King Goodwill Zwelithini has asked the KwaZulu-Natal government for R18m to build new property, including a R6m palace for his sixth and youngest wife.

He also wants R12m to build a new house at the Nyonkeni Palace.

Queen Zola KaMafu, who has two children with the king, is living with his eldest wife Queen Sibongile KaDlamini.

She made headlines back in 2004 as a 14-year-old when she accompanied the king to the opening of the legislature.

At the time, stunned spectators and provincial legislature members watched in amazement as the teenager sat quietly, separated by four royal officials from Zwelithini, who was then 56.

Wishes can’t just be granted

The king’s request was tabled before the Premier and Royal Household Portfolio Committee in the legislature on Tuesday.

The chief financial officer for the royal household, Mduduzi Mthembu, said they wanted these items to be included in next year’s budget.

However, it is not a matter of the king’s wishes just being granted, especially in light of the household’s past record of over-expenditure.

The portfolio committee has set aside time later this month to scrutinise the request and question the royal household on their motivation for wanting more money.

Until then, even the opposition parties are reserving their comments.

KZN DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said he did not want to prejudge the report and it would be presumptive of him to comment at this stage.

The Congress of the People leader in the Legislature Lucky Gabela said members of the committee would apply their minds and express their views at the correct time.

The IFP was not present at the portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday. However, in the past it has questioned the role of the Royal Household Trust, which was set up in 2009 to generate income to help towards the Zulu royals’ expenditure.

Building more palaces

The trust was to provide for the educational needs of the king’s children, the running costs of the palaces, the queens’ expenses and contribute to the running of the farms and vehicles.

Chairperson of the Royal Household Trust, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, said the trust was still in a transitional phase and would hopefully be in a position to build and maintain palaces in the future.

He said the trust, which started operating in 2010, would meet the provincial department of the royal household on Friday to iron out “certain matters”, including the duplication of duties.

He added that the trust was committed to its mandate to make the royal household self-sustainable and reduce dependence on the state. “Hopefully we will be building palaces in the future,” Ngwenya said.
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