South Africa’s Royal Families: Take A Look At How Much Taxpayers Pay Them


Did you know that approximately 20 million South Africans live in areas ruled by kings or traditional leaders?

Did you also know that beyond government’s fat salaries, the ruling monarchs in the country also benefit from provincial spending?

For instance, over the years Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and a number of other South African royals have been the centre of controversy, following disturbing reports of exorbitant spending on luxury vehicles, chartered flights, and lavish lifestyles.

Read Also: King Dalindyebo Writes To Mama Winnie Mandela From Cell

Traditional kings are symbolic figureheads in the country with little political power, saddled with the responsibility of settling disputes in their respective communities. They also play advisory roles to the government and the people.

Local media outlet, The Citizen reported that the Zuma-led administration has released a statement detailing the official salaries of the country’s royal families.

The statement reportedly contained how much money the taxpayers spend in providing the necessities of life for South African royal families.

According to the report, the document containing the breakdown of the royal families’ salaries was titled: Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act: Determination of salaries and allowances of traditional leaders, members of the national house and provincial houses of traditional leaders. 

The document also contained names of the royal families and the signature of President Jacob Zuma – which expressly speaks of final endorsement.

According to the Department of Traditional Affairs, they receive over a million a year.

Here’s the list of South Africa’s recognized royal families.

  • King Victor Thulare III of Bapedi ba Maroteng Kingdom in Limpopo Region
  • Rain Queen Masalanabo Modjadji of Balobedu
  • Zanozuko Sigcawu of the AmaMpondo Kingdom in Eastern Cape Region
  • Mpendulo Sigcawu of the AmaXhosa Kingdom in Eastern Cape Region
  • Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of the AbaThembu Kingdom in Eastern Cape Region
  • King Goodwill Zwelithini of the AmaZulu Kingdom in Eastern Cape Region
  • Mphephu Ramabulana of the Vhavenda Kingdom in Limpopo Region
  • King Makhosoke Enoch Mabhena II of AmaNdebele Kingdom in Mpumalanga Region
  • Ingwenyama Mabhoko III of Ndzundza-Mabhoko
  • Amashangana Tribal Authority

See Also: King Dalindyebo Barred From Attending His Wife’s Funeral

Reports have it that of all these, there are full-time and part-time positions and that one’s position determines how much he earns as a traditional head. One’s position is also said to be a determinant to how much he receives during official meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences.

Take a look at how much these royal families earn.

A Brief Profile Of Some Traditional Leaders

King Goodwill Zwelithini of the AmaZulu

He was born in 1948 and has been the reigning Zulu King for 48 years. King Goodwill made headlines in 2014 after the Department of Royal Affairs awarded him an R54.2 million budget.

The controversy was further complicated after he demanded an extra R10million but ended up receiving R5million.

King Makhosoke Enoch Mabhena II of Ndebele

King Makhosoke took over the reins of Ndebele leadership in 2010.

Ingwenyama Mabhoko III of Ndzundza-Mabhoko

Born in 1985, Ingwenyama Mabhoko III took over the reigns in 2005 from Ingwenyama Mayitjha II Cornelius III.

Mphephu Ramabulana of the Vhavenda

Mphephu is the traditional leader of Vhavenda Kingdom in Limpopo Region since 1997. He was crowned at the Dzanani Palace in 1998 in the presence of the late President Nelson Mandela. He is famous for hosting the traditional Musangwe annual fist fight tournament.

Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of AbaThembu

King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo is apparently the most controversial of them all. He is currently serving a 12-year jail term for assault, arson, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice in October 2015.

His people are still dealing with the controversies surrounding his marriage to five women. In August 2016, he was barred from attending his wife’s funeral.

Currently, Council of Churches has called on President Jacob Zuma to free the king.

Mpendulo Sigcawu of AmaXhosa

Zwelonke is the 12th King of the Amaxhosa Kingdom. He was coronated by President Jacob Zuma in 2015.

In 2014, King Zwelonke made headlines for demanding his R36000 lobola back after his marriage to Queen Liyema collapsed.