Johannesburg – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu has defended Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s R2.8m travel bill, saying a thorough analysis was done to ascertain his travel plans.
“There is no contradiction between the austerity measures which are now government policy and complying with logistical arrangements that has been verified and approved by competent personnel who have taken all precautionary measures of safety of His Majesty, and feasible and cost-effective mode of transport,” the office of the premier said in a statement.
A “thorough analysis” was done and all security measures were considered before it was decided which mode of transport to use.
It said the report of the almost R3m was unfortunate. The amount was spent over the past two financial years.
According to a weekend report, taxpayers paid R2.8m for private flights for the king to attend social and official engagements, despite the monarch exceeding his annual budget and receiving a bailout earlier this year.
The information surfaced when the DA wrote to the premier questioning the king’s use of chartered flights.
‘Hell bent on embarrassing king’
Mchunu’s office accused MPLs of trying to embarrass the king by sending a parliamentary question and its reply to the media.
“There is no justification whatsoever to the conduct of the honourable members who are hell bent on embarrassing His Majesty by leaking a parliamentary question to the media after getting an official response.
“This does not only show the total disregard of the parliamentary process by these members, but a total disrespect of his majesty.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party on Tuesday said political parties in KwaZulu-Natal, especially the DA, were obsessed with Zwelithini and were attacking him for performing his duties.
Democratic Alliance provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said they respected the king, but that he needed to be held accountable.
“We’re not attacking the king, we’re attacking the principle,” Mncwango told News24.
He said just like any other government official, Zwelithini could not use public funds as he wanted.