‘War talk not good for KZN’

2019-02-27 15:50
His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu arrives to deliver his official address to the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal to mark the opening of the 6th Session of the 5th Legislature at the Royal Show grounds on Tuesday.

His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu arrives to deliver his official address to the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal to mark the opening of the 6th Session of the 5th Legislature at the Royal Show grounds on Tuesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on Tuesday steered clear of the debate on the land reform proposals threatening to erode his authority in rural areas during the opening of the provincial legislature. 

He confined his speech to the broader issues of agriculture and the economy.

Zwelithini, speaking at the event at the Pietermaritzburg Royal Agricultural Showgrounds, called on the provincial government to stop paying lip service to the development of the agriculture sector in the province.

“In my view government has already set out a clear strategy on what it seeks to achieve. However, a pragmatic approach to connect with this plan seems to be a perpetual gap that is never filled year in and year out.

“I believe we can’t be planning perpetually yet hoping to make a difference in the lives of our people,” he said.

Bemoaning the prevalence of crime and lawlessness in the province, Zwelithini appealed to political parties to show tolerance ahead of the upcoming general elections, saying acts of violence will drive investors away.

“Political parties together with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) have a major role to play in ensuring that the elections are peaceful, free and fair.

“War talk is definitely not good for our province as no investor wants to put money in a region where there is political instability,” he said.

Former president Jacob Zuma arrives the event.

Zwelithini’s address to MPLs came after he had called an Imbizo in July in protest government plans to weaken the Ingon­yama Trust by transferring land under its control to rural dwellers.

The Zulu King, who is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust, had told thousands of his subjects at the Imbizo in Ulundi that there would be bloodshed should government go ahead with plans to “strip the Zulu people of our land”.

“I promise you I will not allow anyone to take away the life and soul of the Zulu nation.

“I warned Mr Ramaphosa — as the governing party, they must not make the mistake of taking away the land of the Zulus because all hell will break loose,” he said at the time.

However, Zwelithini’s speech to the provincial legislature reflected a more conciliatory approach.

“There is no doubt that South Africa is facing numerous challenges at the moment. Whilst we must continue to acknowledge the great strides that have been achieved, it stands to reason that we must continue to challenge ourselves as a people.

“Both collectively and individually, we ought to ask ourselves a question — how can we make KwaZulu-Natal a better and competitive province?” he said.

The police guard lines up at the opening of the KZN Legislature.

This morning Premier Willies Mchunu’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) will be delivered at the same venue.

Poor service delivery, political killings and poverty and unemployment are expected to be among some of the pressing issues in the province that Mchunu will address in his speech.

A brightly dressed young woman at the opening of the KZN Legislature at the Royal Showgrounds.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn legislature
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