South Africa

How much money kings and other traditional leaders get paid in South Africa

South Africa now has eight kings officially recognised by the government – with president Cyril Ramaphosa recognising Prince Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu as king of the AmaZulu Kingship in March 2022.

Answering in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that these recognised kings are permitted to collect an annual salary as determined by the president.

This annual salary is based on the recommendations made by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, she said.

The recommendations are based on consultations with the minister of finance, the minister of Justice, the chief justice and Lower Courts Remuneration Committee, and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Dlamini-Zuma outlined the salaries paid to each of the country’s kings over the last five years based on these recommendations:

Year Annual salary
2016 R1 126 057
2017 R1 033 438
2018 R1 126 057
2019 R1 206 147
2020 R1 239 918
2021 R1 239 917

Dlamini-Zuma said that ‘fringe benefits’ are also given to all traditional leaders by their respective provincial governments. However, she noted there is no specific information available on the benefits each province provides to their kings as this differences from province to province.

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What other traditional leaders earn

South Africa most recently gazetted its salaries for traditional leaders in July 2021, with salaries offered to a wide range of roles, including the national and provincial houses of traditional leaders.

Note: NHTL = National House of Traditional Leaders | PHTL = Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

Position Annual salary
King/Queen R1 239 917
Chairperson: NHTL R933 270
Full-Time Chairperson: PHTL R768 678
Deputy Chairperson: NHTL R713 811
Full-Time Deputy Chairperson: PHTL R658 758
Full-Time Member: NHTL R415 113
Full-Time Member: PHTL R355 842
Senior Traditional Leader R270 942
Headmen/Headwomen R116 418

The 2021 salaries represent an effective wage freeze, with president Cyril Ramaphosa also announcing that a number of senior officials including the deputy president and ministers would not be receiving an increase this year.

Traditional kings and senior leaders are symbolic figureheads in the country with little political power. However, these rulers play an important role in local disputes as well as in playing advisory roles to government – as well as in the lives of the traditional rural populations.

Read: South Africa eases restrictions as it plans to end state of disaster – here’s 4 things you still can’t do

Artmotion S.Africa

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