By Nathi Olifant

The Royal Household's financial woes are set to remain this year, despite the R43 million financial injection into the embattled entity.

This week Finance MEC Ina Cronje increased the Royal Household's budget allocation from R40.643 million in 2009/10 to R48.560 million in 2012/13.

Having overspent by R2.7m by mid-year last year, the Royal Household will have to pay back R3m from the current budget to cover that shortfall.

It is envisaged that 60% of this budget is going to staff salaries and administrative work, while 40% is for the day-to-day running of the king's palaces and assets, like cars, and travel allowances.

No clear plan is available as to how the money is going to be spent now that the Royal Household is no longer a government department, but a public entity.

The Sunday Tribune understands that new vehicles needed to be purchased urgently, while the king's farms also need urgent attention, as they are in dire straits.

Newly appointed Royal Household Trust chairman, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, told the Sunday Tribune that the most pressing issues included the setting of foundations for the new entity to start operating.

"With a limited budget we will have to start working on key critical issues. Palaces are not in a good condition and they require constant maintenance and upgrade," said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya acknowledged that the budget was yet to be allocated specifically what to do and what not to do.

Provincial Premier Zweli Mkhize announced in November last year that a Royal Household Trust had been formed in a bid to curb over-expenditure in King Goodwill Zwelithini's palaces.

The trust is listed as a public entity, is accountable to the government and must ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act.

The trust will be subject to audit on its mandate and performance.

In the 2008/2009 financial year about R593 000 went on emergency repairs to the king's five palaces; R229 000 on travel and accommodation for King Goodwill and his entourage; R165 000 on consultants (speech writing); and R150 000 on a coming-of-age ceremony.

That pushed the over-expenditure to R8.4m that year alone.

The Royal Household Trust Bill was passed in May 2007, but the appointment of trustees has been delayed.

In 2006 six new Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor cars were bought by the Royal Household department for King Goodwill Zwelithini's six queens, at a cost of R2.3m.

The purchase was intended to provide the king's wives with vehicles "more befitting their status" after previously having been ferried around in Toyota Corollas.