Chauffeurs who drive King Goodwill Zwelithini and his six wives, and about 60 other staff at his seven palaces, are threatening to strike over allegations of nepotism and grievances over allowances.
Last week their union, the South African State and Allied Workers Union, threatened to shut down all the king’s palaces.
A strike was averted at the 11th hour to give KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu’s office time to respond.
In a petition to Mchunu’s office dated November 27 the employees complained about two of the king’s relatives, princes Wiseman Nhlakanipho Zulu and Mathubesizwe Reginald Zulu, who were recently appointed as drivers and considered for a salary upgrade, allegedly without proper procedures being followed.
Drivers have also complained that the royal vehicles are unsafe and staff are unhappy with their compensation for long working hours.
Mchunu’s spokesperson Thami Ngidi said there was “no influence whatsoever” in the hiring of the two princes, who joined the staff at different times. He said all employees had job descriptions that were the basis of their performance agreements.