President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially declared the salaries and allowances of traditional leaders and members of traditional houses.

Traditional affairs are interwoven with South Africa’s government. The Department of Traditional Affairs is mandated to oversee issues relating to traditional affairs and support the development of traditional communities.

The South African government said the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) seeks to promote the role of traditional leadership within the country and act as an advisory board to the national government.

Alongside the national house of traditional leaders, there are provincial houses in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West added government.

Traditional leaders play a role in the rural development strategy, with the government introducing numerous pieces of legislation to ensure that traditional leadership can and must contribute to the development of society.

Traditional councils can further be involved in development matters and may now enter into partnerships and service-delivery agreements with the government in all spheres.

South Africa’s latest gazetted remuneration covers a wide range of roles varied between full and part-time positions in both 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 277 116
Chairperson: NHTL R961 268
Full-Time Chairperson: PHTL R791 738
Deputy Chairperson: NHTL R735 226
Full-Time Deputy Chairperson: PHTL R678 520
Full-Time Member: NHTL R427 566
Full-Time Member: PHTL R366 520
Senior Traditional Leader R279 070
Headmen/Headwomen R119 911

The King’s salary

In March of this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu as the King of the AmaZulu Kingship, making the country now have eight officially recognised kings.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a parliamentary Q&A that recognised kings are permitted to collect an annual salary as determined by the president and based on recommendations by the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

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 added that ‘fringe benefits’ are also given to all traditional leaders by their respective provincial governments.

There is no specific information available on the benefits each province provides to their kings as this differences from province to province, she noted.