Khoi join Contralesa’s calls for equal funding of SA royalty

ON POINT: Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders chairman Kgoshi Lameck Mokoena says lack of water creates sexual problems in families. PHOTO BY: Siphiwe Nyathi/AENS

ON POINT: Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders chairman Kgoshi Lameck Mokoena says lack of water creates sexual problems in families. PHOTO BY: Siphiwe Nyathi/AENS

Published Nov 13, 2022


While calls have been made for the abolishment of South African royalty, an activist and the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) have instead demanded that taxpayers fund the lifestyles of all royal households equally.

Contralesa president Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena has also hit back at those who called for the abolishment of royalty and accusing the state of neglecting its duty to traditional leaders.

Millions of rands are channelled into royal families and some traditional leaders in the form of stipends and salaries. The Zulu royal family receives R67.3 million from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to preserve the culture.

The Zulu monarchy’s finances were thrust in the spotlight after the certification ceremony of King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini this month, as he now is entitled to a salary of R1.2m a year.

Soon after the ceremony, the General Industries Workers’ Union of South Africa(Giwusa), called for the abolishment of the country’s royalty, upset over extravagant events such as the ceremony which were in stark contrast to the poverty of most Zulu workers.

But Mokoena said the union was being biased and had not made any such calls in relation to taxpayer money spent on security for mayors, MECs, and ministers who had at least two vehicles.

Mokoena also accused the government of neglecting royal leadership. “This must come to an end," he said.

Mokoena stated that he had discussed the disparities with the judge in charge of the commissioning of public office bearers.

Mokoena said while sections 211 and 212 of the constitution say the role of traditional leaders must be recognised, they are not given any powers or functions.

“But, until now, no functions or powers for royal leadership have been defined, which begs the question, why?"It is clear that we have been neglected, and no one takes us seriously," Mokoena said.

He said traditional leaders were also fed up with "being used for electioneering."

"It's clear that elections are the most important thing because every leader, every political organisation will run to the rural areas; they will come to our palaces and great places to say they respect royal leaders when they want us to mobilise votes, but they will forget about us immediately after the election."

He said the aim was to get the nine provinces to support royal families in the same manner as the KwaZulu-Natal government supports the Zulu Royal Family.

At present, the Zulu royalty is funded through a department in the premier’s office.

A spokesperson for the royal family, Prince Thulani Zulu, referred questions to the “chief directorate in the office of the Premier”.

A Khoi activist echoed Mokoena’s sentiments.

Khoi activist Dr. Christian Martin said the disparities among the monarchs should be addressed in court.

"There should be criteria for how this is done; it shouldn’t be done willy-nilly in a way that is damaging traditional leadership," he said.

Martin said it was clear that "some [people] were more equal than others."

"This is wrong; there should be parity, and I don’t know why the other kings have taken this to court already on the basis of parity." "The Zulus cannot be more equal than the Zulus or any other nation that supports cultural governance," Martin said.

He added that the Zulus, Xhosas, Mpondo,, Khoi, San, and other monarchs should be treated equally.

As things stand, only the Zulu Royal Family is funded by the taxpayer, with the family’s books audited by the Auditor General of South Africa.

The AG’s office told Weekend Argus that "the AGSA conducts regular audits of the financial statements of the Zulu Royal Household Trust, which is governed by the Zulu Royal House Act of 2018, every year as part of its audit work under the Public Finance Management Act." The finances of other royal households in the country are accounted for and audited through the respective provincial departments responsible for traditional affairs.

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