King Goodwill Zwelithini has been battling to make ends meet because the money given to the Royal Household Trust for the monarch’s welfare was not enough. File picture: ANA
Durban - King Goodwill Zwelithini has been battling to make ends meet and keep the DStv and lights burning in his seven palaces because the money given to the Royal Household Trust for the monarch’s welfare was not enough.

The Trust’s chairperson Professor Sihawu Ngubane said they were “under strain” and “not managing at all” with their allocated funds and were determined to start making their own money soon.

“Sometimes the money doesn’t last for the entire financial period so we have to play around with what we receive.”

Premier Sihle Zikalala this week said just over R66million was set aside for the royal household during the 2019/20 financial year of which R19m would go towards the Royal Household Trust.

Zikalala’s spokesperson Bongani Tembe said the royal budget remained largely unchanged from the one approved last year.

“There was a once-off allocation for renovations at the palaces, otherwise the budget would have remained the same,” said Tembe.

Ngubane said the bulk of the money remained under the control of the Office of the Premier, while the R19m received by the Royal Household Trust was also supposed to cover groceries, medical aid, petrol, diesel, six vehicles as well as car hire when the vehicles broke down.

“When I say it’s not enough I mean that sometimes there is unforeseen expenditure that we have to cater for,” said Ngubane.

He said King Zwelithini was in London where he met with Britain’s Prince Charles and some of those costs also came out of the budget of the Royal Household Trust.

Following the budget announcement this week, political parties again questioned when the royal household would become financially independent.

EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza said the mandate of the Royal Household Trust was to explain how the royal household would raise funds.

“Instead we end up bailing out the Royal Trust. That is fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” he said.

Khoza said there was no breakdown of how the R66m apportioned to the royal household would be spent.

“That amounts to R5.5m a month which is a lot of money,” he said.

However, Ngubane said a strategic planning session was held to identify projects which would make the trust profitable. Their plans included farming, manufacturing and property.

“We will be leasing property. We are looking for buildings that can generate an income and we want to start before the end of the financial year,” said Ngubane.

The DA’s provincial leader Zwakhele Mncwango said the government was not transparent enough when it came to how the money was spent.

“We don’t demand answers from the king, we want the government to account. We are in a complex situation where we are dealing with a democratic government with a monarchy.”

Mncwango said ideally more money should be spent on infrastructure development.

Tim Tyrrell of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) - said: “The writing is on the wall.

“That money should be allocated to the household when they have the wherewithal to be self-sufficient.

“Human nature says if I’m going to get money for nothing, we’ll take it rather than work for it.”

Tyrrell said while he fully recognised the standing and stature of the royal household which was perfectly legitimate, however, other monarchies around the world were successful and wealthy.

“We are a civil society organisation that has to hold the government to account, we have to do this in a sensible and professional way.

“If we find fruitless and wasteful expenditure then we get involved.

“We work on constructive platforms with government departments to bring about good governance,” said Tyrrell.

Despite repeated attempts, the IFP could not be reached for comment.

Sunday Tribune