South Africa News

Zulu Royal household accepts R5 million budget cut while preparing for upcoming festivities

The Zulu Royal household has accepted the budget cut by the office of KwaZulu-Natal Premier while it is preparing a handful of festivities.

Their budget was slashed by R5 million. Last year, the family received R71 million for its expenses.

Premier Sihle Zikalala delivered KZN’s budget speech on Friday, a week after the new Zulu monarch, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, was announced.

The King, who sent a delegation to pay lobola to his long-time sweetheart, Ntokozo Mayisela, to Newcastle, is expected to tie the knot, in the coming weeks, ahead of his coronation.

In spite of the budget cut, the royal family is pressing on with preparations for the much-awaited coronation ceremony, which is expected to be a massive event.

While delivering the budget, Zikalala said activities for the coronation of the new King will be footed using the same budget. He added that it would be the first coronation in a long time and would be a fitting tribute to the late King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who would have reached 50 years on the throne this year.

Prince Thulani Zulu, Royal household spokesperson, said they did not take a budget cut in a bad way considering that all budgets for government departments had been cut.

“We understand the country is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and a chunk of the budget has been allocated towards that. We believe that it is not something political, we will have to work with what has been allocated to us.

Also, there is new blood (new king), some things may change. However, should we encounter any financial challenges, we will negotiate with the office of the premier through the royal trust – which oversees the budget. It is also important to note that there was a roll-over from the previous year’s budget which I think the government may have considered when deciding to cut the budget,” said Prince Thulani, royal spokesperson.

The royal household budget is usually spent on hosting annual traditional and cultural events to preserve Zulu culture, like King Shaka’s commemoration and the reed dance ceremony.

It also used to maintain six royal palaces of the late King Zwelithini, including the upkeep of his Queens’ lifestyles, groceries, medical aid, petrol, diesel, six vehicles, and car hire when the vehicles break down.

The late king previously complained the budget didn’t cover all the expenses.

A report tabled before the premier’s office committee recently revealed that R1 million was spent on replacing carpets and R1.4 million to install floor tiles, in the same house.

It is not clear whether King Misuzulu will inherit one of his father’s palaces or opt for a new one.

However, Prince Thulani indicated there might be more weddings on the way.

King Misuzulu has a 15-year-old son with Princess Wezizwe Sigcau of the amaMpondo Royal, and he has two children with the Queen-to-be.

Prince Thulani indicated the king wanted to bring all his children to his home along with their mothers.

“The King paid lobola last week and we are preparing for a wedding fit for the king. With regards to the Eastern Cape princess, the King will make a decision, and should he choose to marry her as a great wife, his subjects will contribute to the lobola of more than 300 cows,’’ he said.

King MisuZulu’s first week on the throne was an eventful one, which included him dealing with personal security matters, paying lobola, and peace talks with some royals.

Zikalala visited the king to clarify the security issue after it was reported that VIP police services were withdrawn. Then there were allegations of contestation from one of his siblings over his rise to the throne, which was later dismissed by the royal family. Amid those happenings, he sent a delegation to pay his lobola of R50 000 and eight cows.

The king was officially introduced to the royal family and is expected to travel to eSwatini to introduce the Queen-to-be to family there and bid farewell to his uncle, King Sobhuza III.

Prince Thulani said the family had smoked the peace pipe over the successor issue and a date for the wedding and coronation will be announced once preparations were finalized.

-Sunday Tribune

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