Premier roasts King’s Trust

2017-04-26 06:00
PHOTO: FILEKing Goodwill Zwelithini arrives at the Royal Showgrounds for the opening of the Provincial legislature earlier this year.

PHOTO: FILEKing Goodwill Zwelithini arrives at the Royal Showgrounds for the opening of the Provincial legislature earlier this year.

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THE royal household, which looks after the interests of King Goodwill Zwelithini and his family, came under fire during Premier Willies Mchunu’s budget speech.

The trust, which remains in shambles and is unable to achieve its core functions to raise funds and commercialise the king’s grazing land, was slammed by MPLs for its failure to be self-sufficient despite receiving millions from provincial government year in and year out.

Mchunu on Tuesday told the provincial legislature the trust will this financial year receive R58,8 million from the public purse to pay for the queens’ expenses, tuition fees, transportation and medical expenses for the royal family, as well as the royal farming activities.

Mchunu admitted the trust had not been able to achieve its core function and said the matter would be addressed with the trust “as a matter of urgency with a view to improve the work of the trust in this aspect”.

NFP MPL Njabulo Mlaba said the move to incorporate the trust into the office of the premier, had left the trust in shambles.

“The royal household continues to struggle to be self-sustaining and it is largely dependent on the allocations it receives from the department.”

Mlaba called on the premier to monitor “closely” how the trust spends the R5 million it has allocated for fund-raising this financial year.

“There is no business plan indicating any projected expenditure for this so-called fund-raising. We should not allow R5 million in taxpayers’ funds to go down the drain,” he said.

ANC MPL Sibusiso Gcabashe pointed out that the king’s grazing land presented a revenue-generating source, but this opportunity was not being exploited. Gcabashe said the provincial government was not getting value for money, despite pumping what amounts to over R161 000 into the trust every day of the year.

“After three years of receiving financial support, they should be self-sufficient, but it is not the case,” he said.

IFP MPL Blessed Gwala said it was “embarrassing for this legislature that this department is failing to meet its obligations to one of the most important citizens of our province, namely His Majesty the King”.

Gwala said the visit by the office of the premier portfolio committee to the king’s palaces, had revealed how the trust had failed in its mandate to maintain the royal palaces.

There is no business plan indicating any projected expenditure for this so-called fund-raising. We should not allow R5 million in taxpayers’ funds to go down the drain.

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