King’s trust bill set for vote
Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Household Trust Bill, aimed at ensuring the well-being of King Goodwill Zwelithini and his royal family without depending on taxpayers, is close to being finalised.
Premier Senzo Mchunu announced this week that the bill would be tabled before the legislature, which would then vote to pass it into law to make the Royal Household Trust a fully fledged entity.
The announcement of the bill came after President Jacob Zuma issued a proclamation to end the Royal Household Department in December.
Last year the provincial treasurer allocated up to R70 million for the king’s upkeep.
According to Mchunu’s office the bill would stipulate how the Royal Household Trust would be managed, governed, staffed and financed.
Previously there had been an outcry over the king’s dependency on the public purse, which led to the provincial government establishing the Royal Household Trust in 2007. Opposition parties had raised concerns that since its formation it had failed to function as a business entity.
The premier’s spokesman, Thami Ngwenya, said although the department had been disbanded it would continue to operate under the premier’s directorate until the end of the financial year.
He said it was unfortunate that the finalisation of the bill had been delayed until after Zuma had promulgated the end of the department, but he could not explain what had caused the delay.
“Staff in the department have been transferred to the trust. We are now in the process of appointing its chief executive officer.”
Ngwenya said there was a possibility that even after the end of the financial year, the trust would get some financial support from the government.
“Obviously it would not be self-sustainable on the first day. But let us wait to hear what the premier says during his State of the Province address on February 27.”
The trust is responsible for maintaining the king’s seven palaces, the maintenance of the king’s fleets of vehicles and those of his queens and children.
Financing the education of the royal children also falls under the trust.
It will have to ensure that the king’s 12 farms are operating properly.
DA provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu said it was “dangerous” to do away with the department without making sure that the trust was fully operational.
“Technically, the trust does not exist until the amendment bill is passed,” said Mchunu.