Royal household shows fiscal discipline

Durban - After years of being in the red and being unable to rein in their overspending, the Royal Household Department has finally received a pat on the back from the Legislature’s Finance Committee.

At a sitting of the committee at the provincial legislature on Friday, the department was praised for its discipline and ability to save money.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The department, which handles the affairs of the Zulu royal family, has come under the spotlight over the past few years for overspending on palace renovations and other expenditure that opposition parties deemed inappropriate and unnecessary.

In the previous financial year (2012/2013), KwaZulu-Natal spent R15m in renovating King Goodwill Zwelithini’s palaces.

The renovations included the construction of two double-storey rondavels, a single floor rondavel, a garage with living quarters and a cool room at Dlamahlahla Palace.

There were also renovations to the water reticulation at KwaKhetha Palace and the upgrading of the security fence at Linduzulu Palace.

New air-conditioners, geysers, the replacement of broken doors and windows, the upgrading of security lights and plumbing work at the Nyokeni Palace were also budgeted for.

Chief financial officer Mduduzi Mthembu confirmed that the renovations and refurbishment on the three palaces were almost complete and there was money left over.

KZN Treasury officials at the sitting said that unaudited reports indicated that the department was well within budget.

It was also revealed that the department had started repaying close to R10 million that it had overspent in recent years.

Mthembu confirmed that R5m had been repaid to the Treasury over the past two financial years and the remaining R4.9m was due to be paid in 2015/16.

The department’s budget is about R66m.