King feels ‘insulted’

2014-06-26 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini has blasted the KwaZulu-Natal legislature for not coming to his defence when criticism was levelled at him over the R300 million development at his Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma.

Delivering his address at the opening of the legislature in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Zwelithini expressed displeasure at media reports suggesting that the development would benefit the royal household.

“The truth is that the development, which is estimated in millions is for the community of Nongoma and South Africa as a whole; it is not for Zwelithini,” he said.

The king charged that the media reports were an insult to Zulus and questioned why his nation had kept quiet.

“This honourable house is keeping quiet when we are made a laughing stock,” he said, before asking what he and the Zulus had done to deserve the insult.

“Why should our children not have ablution facilities when they attend the reed dance? Why am I being insulted?”

His statements were in response to ­recent reports that taxpayers were to fork out R300 million for a development at Enyokeni palace and that a team of experts had been formed to prevent the costs escalating to R600 million.

The money would pay for a cultural village at Enyokeni, as well as sleeping areas and ablution facilities for the 30 000 Zulu maidens who attend the annual reed dance. The development would reportedly also involve upgrading an existing pavilion and paved walkways.

The Ingonyama Trust Board’s Judge Jerome Ngwenya previously said the first phase of building the cultural ­village was expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

Welcoming the new MPLs and parties represented in the legislature, Zwelitini said they should conduct themselves with dignity and respect.

The king said it was his wish that the legislators represented not only their members and supporters, but all KwaZulu-Natal citizens, including those who did not vote for them. He called for KZN to have a common vision and to adopt a theme — “KZN deserves better” — for the next five years.

Zwelithini added that the people of KZN should accept their differences and work together for the benefit of future generations. “There should be no political killings, vandalism during protests and political intolerance.”

Apart from calling for aggressive agrarian development in the province, Zwelitini called for a rethink of the government outreach efforts.

He complained that people attended outreach programmes only to be provided with take-away food, saying the money should be spent on other issues.

Zwelithini announced that there were plans to host a rural mining dialogue and that traditional leaders would meet next week to discuss several issues, including land.

Political parties welcomed Zwelithini’s address, with Premier Senzo ­Mchunu saying every effort would be made to ensure the people of KZN ­received what they deserved.

The DA and IFP supported his call for a rethink on the money spent on outreach projects.

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