Durban - The royal household needed to find ways to finance its operations and upkeep, the provincial legislature heard on Tuesday during the 2014/15 budget presentation for the king by Premier Senzo Mchunu.

While the government has given the royal household R54.211 million for 2014/15 financial year, the Rural Development Department still has a duty to foot the bill for employees of the palaces until staff have been transferred from the department to the Royal Household Trust.

The trust, established by the provincial government in 2009, received financial support from the government in the 2013/14 financial year.

Mchunu said R32m was earmarked for the refurbishment and renovations of six of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s palaces: Dlamahlahla, KwaKhetha, Ingwavuma, KwaKhangela, Linduzulu and Enyokeni.

The renovations included internal renovations as well as building of some external structures.

Some of these refurbishments will be completed in the 2014/15 financial year.

In his report, Mchunu said his office needed to play a direct role in the affairs of the royal household.

He announced a number of administrative and auxiliary services programmes to service the king, including his farms.

Just more than R9m has been set aside for planning and development of the king’s affairs for the financial year.

Nearly R3m has been made available for the operation and maintenance of the royal farms.

The trust will oversee this, while the department will be responsible for salaries of palace employees.

After the address, there were calls for the premier to put measures in place to ensure funds channelled to the trust were properly spent.

ANC MPL Vuyelwa Tambo said: “We feel that the king shouldn’t always expect to receive from government, but should also ensure that there were means to generate funds.”

The DA’s Senzo Mchunu said the pace at which the transfer of staff from the department to the trust was taking place was unacceptable.

“There’s a need for the trust to stand on its own,” he said.

Member of the provincial legislature, Inkosi Zibuse Mlaba, supported the view that the trust needed to find ways of generating funds for the upkeep of the royal household.

Daily News