S.African kings come with $73m price tag

South Africa's 10 kings and thousands of aristocrats cost the state a regal $73 million (650 million rand, 54 million euros) last year, local media reported Monday.

The price tag was spent on salaries and benefits for 10 kings, 829 senior traditional leaders and 5,311 local chiefs, Beeld newspaper reported.

Each king earned a yearly salary of over $100,000, while provinces allocated additional benefits.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini received $6.6 million from the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, and asked an extra $2 million to build a palace for the youngest of his six wives.

He has 27 children.

Other provinces paid for luxury vehicles, medical aid and household costs.

The country's royalty feature little in public affairs. They don't fulfil formal political roles, though some have served in government.

Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nobel Peace Laureate and struggle-hero Nelson Mandela, is a chief in the Thembu clan and member of parliament for the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

South Africa is one of the world's most unequal societies. Over half its 52 million people live below the poverty line, according to official figures.