Zulu king slams political intolerance, defends R300m cultural development

2014-06-25 13:19

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King Goodwill Zwelithini has lashed out at political parties for infighting and intolerance, calling on them to serve the people of the province rather than “abuse’’ them.

Addressing the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg earlier today, the monarch made the comments in reference to a series of political killings at KwaMashu and Estcourt before the national elections last month.

“We must move past the state of just tolerance and learn to embrace one another,’’ the monarch told the House in the address he traditionally delivers ahead of the provincial premier’s state of the province address.

King Zwelithini, dressed in a sombre dark suit rather than the nautical attire he often sports at official functions, said people had to accept religious, political and cultural differences as this was “part of democracy’’.

Politicians, he said, had to overcome their “pride’’ and work together for the benefit of the community as “the people elected you to lead them’’.

“We need to come together and do better,’’ he said.

He said he would be watching “each and every one of you’’ to make sure that the legislature and the executive worked in the way that they should.

The king also fired a broadside at critics of his state-sponsored lifestyle and spending habits, particularly recent complaints about a plan to develop a R300 million centre for the use of Zulu cultural activities at Nongoma.

These, he said, were an “insult’’ to the Zulu nation as there had been no complaints about expenditure on monuments nor facilities which marked or were used for the celebration of the history and culture of other groups.

“As the Zulu nation, what have we done wrong that we should be on the receiving end of insults?’’ he asked.

He said government had done little for the area and that the facilities were “not for me or one of my wives” but for the local community.

He questioned why young Zulu women participating in the annual Reed Dance and other festivities should not have decent facilities to use.

“Why do our children have to have no ablution facilities?’’ he asked.

The king also called on government to develop more effective agricultural assistance programmes as, at present, they were not helping. For example, seed was being distributed at harvest time, the wrong time of the year.

Premier Senzo Mchunu, who will deliver his state of the province address tomorrow, committed his administration to working closely with the monarch and traditional leaders.

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