He was driving his state vehicle at the annual Reed Dance at the eNyokeni Royal Palace, in northern KwaZulu.
Bhekizenzi Dlamini, an assistant human resources manager in the office of the premier, was arrested after a Road Traffic Inspectorate alcohol test on Saturday afternoon.
Dlamini attended the ceremony as part of a government delegation.
According to the RTI, Dlamini’s breath-alcohol level was0.62mg/litre, nearly triple the 0.24mg/litre limit.
Caro Smit, founder of South Africans Against Drunk Driving, said that it takes about six shots of whisky to get to 0.6mg/litre.
“This is shocking,” said Smit.
A spokesman said the office of the premier had not been aware of the arrest until it was contacted by The Times yesterday morning.
“We have confirmed this incident with the RTI. It is dealt with by law enforcement. The office of the premier will conduct its own internal processes,” said provincial government spokesman Thamsanqa Ngwenya.
But this was not the only drunk- driving arrest at the reed dance. According to RTI spokesman Zinhle Mngomezulu, two minibus taxi drivers were arrested for drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving, and driving without a licence.