Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Hedonism of South Africa’s Kings

South Africa currently has seven officially recognized kings. Apparently the ANC government feels that traditional leadership plays a critical role in our communities, but with all the squandering and squabbling going on between them, and the long drawn-out court battles to decide who should be the rightful wearer of the crown leopard skins, I fail to see the positive role they play in a democratic society.

Their way of life - with all their posh palaces, luxury vehicles, extravagant trips, frightfully expensive traditional ceremonies, inflated salaries – you name it – makes them more of a menace than a blessing (for the taxpayer), but then I suppose one better not make too much of a scene about it, as it will only lead to another costly ‘commission of enquiry’ – to prove the ‘legitimacy’ of it all.

This posting will present a brief introduction to the seven modern-day kings of South Africa, starting with the monarchy that takes the cake with its past record of over-expenditure.

King of the Zulu nation
King of the Zulu nation

In the 2011-2012 financial year his household was allocated R12 million from the R55 million budget, but overspent by R5.1 million. This year the budget was increased to R59.5 million. The king also receives a yearly salary of R978 321 on top of the yearly budget, which is apparently not enough as he needs more money to keep his six wives and 20-odd children in the manner to which they are accustomed - Zulu king needs more money.

The other African kings are feeling rather grumpy about this preferential treatment. When Phathekile Holomisa, President of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (and also Chief of the AmaGebe Tribe in the Eastern Cape) voiced his concerns, Albert Mncwango, an induna of Zwelithini's, said Holomisa should "stay out of our business" and said the implications of his complaint "smacks of racism". -- "If it is good for Prince Harry to splash million of pounds on luxury hotels, why is it wrong for our king to spend the night in a five-star hotel?" - (News report here).

Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini hit back on reports that he asked for R17 million to build a palace for his young queen, saying officials from the KwaZulu-Natal government was responsible for the request. Whatever the case – we the taxpayers are the ones who are paying for this!

Here’s a brief rundown of the ‘Royal’ account for 2011:
    (Mainly for flight tickets and accommodation in 5-star hotels.)
    (That’s almost his entire yearly salary!)
    (His latest spending spree cost the taxpayers more than R2.8-million for a herd of 40 Boran cattle.)

King of the abaThembu – Eastern Cape
King of the abaThembu – Eastern Cape
  • Yearly Salary = R927 319
  • Monthly Fuel Allowance = R10 000
  • Yearly Sell-Phone Allowance = R24 000
  • Official Vehicle: Mercedes Benz ML 350 CDI = R778 000
Additional Info:
In May 2005, he was indicted for fraud, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and arson at the Mthatha High Court, and is currently appealing against a 15-year jail sentence. The charges stemmed from violence against his subjects in a small village near Mthatha between 1995 and 1996. In December 2009, Buyelekhaya threatened to secede from South Africa, and take two-thirds of the country's land with him. The secession bid apparently came after President Jacob Zuma refused to intervene in the king's litigations - Row over South Africa Xhosa king's secession bid (BBC News).

King of the AmaMpondo
King of the AmaMpondo - Eastern Cape
  • Yearly Salary = R927 319
  • Monthly Fuel Allowance = R10 000
  • Yearly Sell-Phone Allowance = R24 000
  • Official Vehicle: Mercedes Benz ML 350 CDI = R778 000
Additional Info:
In 2010 taxpayers had to pay for his accommodation while he was in hiding at a luxury villa on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. He and his family stayed in the villa for two months after his homestead in Flagstaff (Eastern Cape) was attacked by three gunmen. The Department of Public Works was unable to secure suitable alternative accommodation. He and his family were also chauffeur-driven in a luxurious 6 cylinder Mercedes Benz E350 with two bodyguards.

King of the amaXhosa
King of the amaXhosa - Eastern Cape

  • Yearly salary = R927 319
  • Monthly Fuel Allowance = R10 000
  • Yearly Sell-Phone Allowance = R24 000
  • Official Vehicle: Mercedes Benz ML 350 CDI = R778 000
Additional Info:
He was most unhappy with his state-sponsored Mercedes Benz ML 350 and would have preferred a Range Rover. He and Dalindyebo both feel that their fuel allowance of R10 000 per month is inadequate.

King of the Ndebele nation
King of the Ndebele nation – Mpumalanga
  • Yearly salary = R927 319
  • Yearly Administrative Allowance = R100 000
  • Cultural Ceremonies = R50 000 
Additional Info:
There’s not much news about this fellow. He recently (April 2012) had a squabble with another Ndebele king (Mabhoko III) concerning a circumcision ritual among Ndebele boys. Apparently they disagreed on whether the ritual should take place this year or next – (news report here).

King of the Vhavenda
King of the Vhavenda - Limpopo
  • Yearly salary = R170 096
Additional Info:
After a court battle that lasted for two years, Mphephu-Ramabulana celebrated victory over three local chiefs - Kennedy Tshivhase, Musiiwa Gole Mphaphuli and Tshidziwelele Nephawe - who had gone to the high court to challenge his kingship. They disputed the findings of the Nhlapo Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims established by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2004. President Jacob Zuma announced its findings in July 2010, stating that Mphephu-Ramabulana was the rightful heir to the throne. During September 2012 Mphephu-Ramabulana entered his royal palace as a triumphant warrior from the protracted court battle. The king’s grand entrance exhibited opulence and the lavish lifestyle befitting royalty, arriving in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. A fleet of expensive vehicles, including a Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, a convertible Ferrari California and Range Rovers, formed part of his long convoy. As part of tradition, semi-naked maidens prostrated themselves on the ground as a sign of reverence to the king – (full news report here).

King of the Bapedi Nation
King of the Bapedi Nation - Limpopo

This king does not get a royal salary from the government, but he apparently doesn’t need it. He is currently the Executive Chairman of the KT3 group of companies and also served as a Director of Bauba A Hlabirwa Mining Investments (Pty) Limited.

After a four-year legal battle, the court ruled, in August 2012, that Kgoshi Victor Thulare of the Sekhukhune family was the rightful king, and not Kgoshi Mampuru Mampuru III, who leads the rival Mamone family. The court effectively upheld the decision by the Nhlapho Commission, which was established in 2004 to decide on royal disputes. The two families are not at each other’s throats for nothing, as the stakes are significant. Not only will the winner be recognised as king, he will get an annual budget from the provincial government, like other South African royalty. But even more lucrative are the vast platinum deposits in the Sekhukhune region, and the more than 20 mines in which the winner will become an immediate shareholder. “This whole thing is about the mines,” said Mampuru, claiming that Thulare had already applied for prospecting rights on a number of farms – (full news report: Battle royale hits Limpopo royals).

This posting was inspired after reading an article in Huisgenoot (print version - Pg. 118) compiled by Petro-Anne Vlok, dated 1 November 2012. Account info mentioned in this posting was sourced from Huisgenoot.


whiteson said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Thanks for this Tia. And we are governed by this bunch of idiots? The gravytrain is long and very very full. How long it will last is a very good guess.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Another reason why the Bantustans were a good idea....

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

The leopard skins have a very long history, and those of Christian faith can view the following opinion:

James Chadwick said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

It is very dignified in South Africa to wear the leopard’s skin. The man who gain the skin is considered the king and have many authorities.

latest news south africa , south africa online news

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@James Chadwick – We live in changing times where age-old traditions like these need to adapt, for obvious reasons . The wearing of fake leopard skins has been suggested as a feasible alternative, but I don’t think all ‘Kings’ will be too chaffed with the idea.

Littlesun said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Can we afford them

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