- KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala presented his budget to the provincial legislature on Tuesday.
- During his presentation, he announced King Goodwill Zwelithini's budget would be increased to R71 million annually.
- Zwelithini previously received more than R60 million from the province via the province's Zulu Royal House Trust.
The KwaZulu-Natal government, which is under pressure to justify its continued financial support to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini who receives more than R60 million annually, has developed a plan that will eventually see the king becoming financial independent.
Tabling the budget in the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Premier Sihle Zikalala said while the provincial government would continue supporting the king, the Zulu Royal Household Trust, currently under the provincial Cogta department, would in future raise funds for Zwelithini.
"The Zulu Royal House Trust will continue to render its services to the royal house, including a much sharper focus on revenue-generating activities. A revenue-generating plan has been developed," he added.
In the current financial year, Zwelithini and the royal house received a R71 million allocation from the provincial treasury.
There have been concerns the financial support that Zwelithini was getting from the provincial government was much higher compared to that given to kings in other provinces.
However, Zikalala said Zwelithini had to be supported given the role he played both within government and province at large.
"The role of the Zulu monarchy as a key institution in a democratic dispensation is well recognised by provincial government. In the 6th administration, the monarch still plays a crucial role in supporting government programmes and preserving culture."
The provincial government, which received an R800 million allocation from the provincial treasury in the current financial year, is, among other things, responsible for the co-ordination of government programmes in the province.
One of the department's main priorities going forward, Zikalala said, would be the thrashing out of the province's economy recovery plan in the aftermath of the destruction caused by Covid-19.
"We are learning from this pandemic, and will ensure that it does not become a missed opportunity for the fundamental transformation of our economy.
"We must use this global pandemic to disinfect our body politic of deadly divisive toxins and work to bring the best out of every citizen and stakeholder in KZN."
Zikalala presented the budget amid a fresh government scandal in which provincial education department officials are being accusing of looting personal protection equipment (PPE) meant for schools.
While the government had not been able to prevent incidents of corruption and theft, he said it should be commended for taking swift action once the incidents had come to light.
"We have already acted timeously and are investigating in areas where allegations of wrongdoing have been reported. We will report on these once investigations are concluded."
Reacting to Zikalala's budget speech, DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said the role played by the premier in ensuring that public funds in the province were well-managed left a lot to be desired.
"The DA expects to see a renewed commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct, not only from an administration perspective, but also from the political leadership in our province," he added.