King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ANA Pictures
Durban - Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini said he was entitled to the annual budget allocated to the royal household as it was derived from tax revenue paid by his subjects.

The King was speaking on Tueday at the inaugural commemoration of the burning of King Cetshwayo’s Palace 138 years ago by British forces in uLundi.

King Zwelithini also lashed out at the manner in which Zulu journalists reported about the controversial financial affairs of the royal household, saying they needed to learn about their history.

He said the issue should be looked at closely, asking if the royal household was not entitled to tax money, Zulu tax money.

“Don't Zulus pay tax, am I not supposed to get this tax from my subjects?” Zwelithini asked.

This year, the financial affairs of the royal household once again took centre stage when premier Willies Mchunu tabled his budget at the Pietermaritzburg Legislature.

The King's budget was increased from R48.8million last year to R58.8m this year.

But King Zwelithini said the millions injected into the royal house annually were not his to use as he pleased.

“This Kingdom is not new, the people who speak about the royal household, particularly journalists from the Zulu nation must read more about their history.

“They don't understand how I live - I don't live on that money, I work for myself. That budget you see doesn't help me at all,” he said. “I don't invest that money for my profit. They would never allow that because they know I would generate more money, money they don't want me to have,” he said.

He said the royal palaces were not luxurious, adding that the money was intended for government responsibility towards the royal household.

Earlier this year, Mchunu said R16.5m for the Royal Household Trust would cater for the remuneration of staff, seven board members, as well as the queens’ expenses, including travel and accommodation.

The remaining R42m will assist the king as he partakes in various important ceremonies and traditional functions across the country.

He said the issue needed to be looked at as the royal household was legitimate and was even approved by the British.

“This commemoration emanates from the Isandlwana battle where the forces of King Cetshwayo defeated the British army, “ said the King.

Emphasising the need to remember the historic incident, King Zwelithini took the opportunity to remind the Zulu nation of their resilience and the importance of knowing their history.

“I am here to remind you of the history on King Cetshwayo. He did not stop fighting for the dignity of the Zulu nation.”

“The Department of Education should take pupils around to various heritage sites during school holidays to teach them about our history,” he said.

The King also announced that the burning of King Cetshwayo’s Palace will now be commemorated annually on July 4.

The Mercury