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Narian Chengiah Naidoo
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No Place for a King in a Constitutional Democracy

17 February 2014, 08:21

Monarchies are essentially parasitic “institutions” or arrangements that don’t offer any added value to contemporary life who had a long enough financial head start at the expense of the ordinary populace. The monarchy remains symbolic of privilege over people of chance over endeavour of being something rather than doing something.

The polygamous King Goodwill Zwelithini is not a South African king but a tribal king who was installed as the eight monarch of the Zulu Nation on 3rd December 1971. The idea of automatic leadership or authority through heredity is like a form of ancestor worship, something the pale ones find decidedly quaint and primitive and it is anti democratic and archaic and there are few convincing arguments for its survival of the 21st century in a constitutional democracy. Why have a monarch when South Africa is declared a republic. In our constitutional democracy, the constitution is supreme.

Some claim that the Zulu King is a man of vision and can boost tourism in Kwa Zulu Natal. All the king is good for is asking for the overburdened taxpayers hard earned cash to maintain his palaces, himself, his wives, his kids and his cattle etc. What vision is this? It is time the Zulu king becomes self sufficient.

Royals do not work for their stipends but continually warrant ongoing financially sustenance to support their lavish lifestyle from the already overburdened taxpayers. They need to be stripped of their illusions of grandeur and flung off their thrones and brought down to the level of the common people and let them survive on their own. The sooner the better.

The Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini’s royal household budget per financial year has increased to just over seventy million rand, an amount that will be administered by a new special royal trust rather than the “cash guzzling” Department of Royal Household.

The seventy million rand will be used for the support services for the king, to refurbish and renovate the king's palaces, to maintain his five farms totalling about one hundred and twenty hectares which are rather unproductive, buying clothes for his six queens, who are also entitled to a German sedan car each including the maintaining of his cars, and paying his children’s school fees and his own monthly allowance will cost.

This country is a joke, why do we have to maintain this King with millions of rand for playing with his “Spear” for the whole day with our tax money when thousands of destitute South Africans, including hundreds of children clamouring over stinking municipal rubbish dumps, scavenging for scraps of food, clothing and rubbish who are being left by the government to fend for themselves even though it was unlawful to deny people access to basic services. The Sky News journalist explained that this was a scene that one would see at rubbish dumps all over South Africa.

The King Goodwill Zwelithini royal household needs to be relevant to the people he serves. Most of his people have never seen him never mind met the king. The wearing of ridiculous fake Michael Jackson like uniforms made in China does him no credit. When was the last time he or any of the royal family visited an old age home, a hospital or an orphanage. Indeed the impression is the most of the family are actually involved in business rather than caring for their people.

King Goodwill Zwelithini many of us would love for you to be involved in our ordinary lives for you to demonstrate that what happens to us day by day is important to you. That those most disadvantaged in our society, the poor and the sick, the homeless and the unemployed have someone they can look as a leader as a source of comfort, as a advocate. Once you have achieved this then we can look as the situation with pride. Until then the extravagant indulgence that is so often on show will do little to endear the institution to either the Zulu nation or the many others living in KwaZulu Natal.

A real monarchy survives and flourishes when its people are engaged and interested in what it does, when, what it does is relevant to their lives. Most people do not know that South Africa had thirteen different tribal Royal Houses. The South African government now only recognise seven of the thirteen “kingdoms” and the other six “kingdoms” that were created by the apartheid government to undermine and divide “legitimate” royal houses would lose their status once the present monarchs died.

How do South Africans feel about the seven remaining “kingships” we support through taxes? Do the “subjects” of these kingdoms benefits in any way from their existence?

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