Johannesburg - After blowing R54m this year, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has asked the government for a R10m bailout for his bankrupt Royal Household Trust.
The Sunday Times reports that the problem lies in a dispute between the Royal Household Trust and the department of the royal household.
However, an insider, who knows how the trust and the department operate, blamed the royal’s financial crisis on the king’s reckless spending. He said “it’s not easy to say no to the king if he wants something to be done”.
According to the newspaper, the king spent nearly R4m on his lavish two-day traditional wedding to his sixth wife in July; R10 000 on a birthday cake; and R120 000 on crockery and cutlery he bought while in Cape Town.
Until now, the royal household’s expenditure has been a closely guarded secret but documents seen by the newspaper show that R10.3m is allocated annually for the king’s palaces; R2.2m for six wives; R2.5m for travelling expenses and R915 248 for education for his 27 children.
It was reported earlier this month that Zwelithini was too broke to even buy groceries.
This comes only about a month after Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa pulled the plug on construction of a R300m cultural precinct near Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Enyokeni Palace in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The Sunday Independent reported at the time that Mthethwa had also ordered a forensic investigation into the entire project and into the department.
This followed on his move to suspended Arts and Culture director-general Sibusile Xaba in October following the outcomes of auditor general Kimi Makwetu’s audit report into the department, which showed increased irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the year since Xaba was appointed.
Sapa reported in May that the first phase of the construction of the cultural village at Nongoma was expected to take up to 18 months to complete.
Department spokesperson Mogomotsi Mogodiri said at the time: “It should be noted that the development and infrastructure is not only for the king, but the Zulu nation as a whole.”
The development was expected to involve upgrading the existing pavilion and paved walkways, as well as sleeping areas and ablution facilities for the 30 000 Zulu maidens who attend the reed dance each year.
This is in addition to the planned building of Zwelithini’s eighth palace - at Emakhosini Valley in northern KwaZulu-Natal - that will boast nine thatched “beehive huts” arranged in a circle with a central cattle enclosure.