Radley Keys, MPP
DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson on the Premier and the Royal Household
AN attack by Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini following a request tabled by the Royal Household department – for an additional R18 million towards building new palaces – has highlighted the appalling lack of communication that exists between officials within the Office of the Premier and the Royal Household department, which falls under the same umbrella.
The King has accused “incompetent government officials” of using the name of the Royal House to hide their ineptitude, further claiming that money said to be budgeted for him is being used to take care of department officials. He added that he had, since 1994, expressed concern over the running of the department and had also called for a probe on the suitability and qualifications of certain staff members. This had not been done.
Funding is set aside for the Royal Household each year. How this money is spent depends on the Royal Household department and the Premier.
The requirements of the legislature are simple – departments must stick within their budgets. Historically, the Royal Household department is not associated with thrift, with years of over-spending. The department currently has debt of R3.8 million, which is being paid off at R1.8 million over three years. Clearly, officials are not able to keep within a budget, which raises concerns over competence. The DA believes that last week’s call for further funding – ostensibly for the building of yet more places – must be investigated.
Given the pressing service delivery challenges within the province, KwaZulu-Natal can ill afford to bide by the department’s request to spend more than has been budgeted. The DA expects the Premier to beef up communications within his office and for the chairperson of the Royal Household portfolio committee to get in touch with what is happening on the ground.