None of the five cars cost more than R800k, says KZN premier Sihle Zikalala
The KwaZulu-Natal government on Friday delivered five cars for the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s wives, including one for the Queen Mother, Mavis MaZungu.
During the handover in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala also announced that renovations at palaces were to start.
“We had agreed that we will complete purchasing cars for the queens and that is what we were delivering today. We also agreed that we will complete renovations at palaces. We were also introducing contractors that will do that work,” said Zikalala.
“Our process was disrupted first by Covid-19 but second by allowing the royal house to go through the process of mourning.”
Zikalala emphasised that the purchase was in line with policy that “for political office bearers you don’t buy a car that costs more than R800,000 and therefore each of the cars here are below that amount”.
He added that the government’s continued support for the Zulu queens and their palaces was a commitment made to the late king.
“We are renovating all palaces. We have also purchased cars for all queens as we agreed with the late majesty the king. We have committed ourselves to continue supporting the royal house,” he said.
However, Zikalala added that royal house events would not receive any support from the government until there was a king.
“What we withdrew is not support to the royal house per se, but the budget for events that normally take place, because of the ongoing issue of the process of appointing the king. We are not going to support events but we are going to continue looking after all palaces as we were doing during the time of the late king,” he said.
For years, The Zulu Royal Family Trust, established by the provincial government, has been the vehicle through which the needs of the queens and the upkeep of the palaces are paid for by taxpayers.
The trust is responsible for luxury cars for the queens as well as all maintenance, renovations and repairs at the palaces and other things, like curtains, maintaining gardens and provision of fittings and appliances.
It is unclear if the trust will continue to cater for King Zwelithini’s widows after the coronation of a new king.