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Stop stealing, urges Zulu king

2010-02-24 09:15

Pietermaritzburg - A prison should be a place where prisoners go hungry so they won't want to go back.

This was said by Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelethini as he opened the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Tuesday.

Zwelethini lashed out about crime, violence at schools, and criminals being viewed as heroes. There are times when people in a community know who the criminals are and honour them as "evil heroes and call them hyenas", he said.

"These people are not thinking straight and they don't realise what it means to commit a crime."

Respect, ubuntu

The king welcomed the government's enthusiasm and dedication to combating crime, but said punishment alone won't solve the problem.

A culture of respect and ubuntu should be restored in communities.

The monarch said he finds it sad that children between the ages of 12 and 18 end up in prison because officials "are too lazy" to supervise a programme that would allow children to serve their sentences under supervision at home.

"The children think prison is fun, so as soon as they are released they commit crime again so that they can go to prison and eat pap. I would rather see them starving in prison," he said.

He went on to say that people shouldn't wait for foreigners to develop South Africa. "I don't put my faith in foreigners who have problems of their own... I put my faith in you," he said to the thousands of people who attended the opening of the legislature.

"You must work as if you are your own slave. And stop stealing."