Lazy must go, warns king

2009-06-12 00:00

His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini has warned that laziness amongst members of the KZN Legislature could result in their electorate exercising their democratic right and recalling them if they do not perform.

Speaking during the official opening of the fourth term of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature yesterday, Zwelithini said democracy is in danger if MECs and public servants are lazy, when there are communities and aged people suffering because of unemployment.

He said it is true that democracy is at risk if children and widows are suffering from hunger and there is instability among people because of crime.

“Nxamalala [President Jacob Zuma] has stated that he will ensure that this does not happen,” said Zwelithini.

The king paid homage to Zuma, saying that he played a pivotal role in bringing peace to the province at the height of political violence. He said he has no doubt that Zuma will succeed in championing unity and co-operation among the different racial groupings and political parties.

Zwelithini also called for the government to work with the public to bring about transformation.

“It is important for the government to strengthen its relationship with the public. We recognise the role played by communities in bringing democracy and have no doubt that they will still play their huge role by working with government to fast track transformation in this province,” said Zwelithini.

Fighting poverty and hunger must be a priority from now on, said Zwelithini. He said it was an intolerable shame that there is so much land in KZN, but some people eat from rubbish bins.

The provincial government, said the king, must initiate programmes aimed at encouraging people to plough the land. He said it is his wish that emerging farmers should get support in the form of infrastructure and seeds from the government. He called upon the Agriculture Department to convene workshops for emerging and commercial farmers for a knowledge sharing session.

His Majesty said he will play a leading role in bringing development to communities. “As such, all royal queens will embark on a campaign of encouraging all women in rural areas to create job opportunities for themselves through farming and handwork,” he said.

In his speech, new KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize said the economic crisis that has affected countries across the globe, is threatening to reverse the gains made by South Africa.

He said the poorest of the poor have been hardest hit by this crisis. Unfortunately they have no one to turn to except their government.

A strategic partnership between government, the private sector and civil society has become imperative and it is the only tool that will enable SA to halve poverty by 2014 and to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, he said.

“Quite critically, the recent rise in food prices is putting pressure on us to find innovative ways of fighting hunger and to ensure food security. As government we believe this crisis offers a window of opportunity to increase investments in agriculture and to empower communities to be self-sufficient,” said Mkhize

The uneven distribution of income and wealth is another challenge that this government is preparing to tackle heads on, said Mkhize. He said the income inequality poses a major constraint to economic growth and is a serious threat to social cohesion.

“Next week [June 18] we will present the state-of-the-province address and will clearly spell out what this government intends to do to lay the foundation of a robust economic growth,” said Mkhize.

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