Zulu king urges government to back new dam project

2020-03-04 14:30
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala (left) welcomes King Goodwill Zwelithini to opening of the KZN Legislature at the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday. (Moeketsi Mamane)

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala (left) welcomes King Goodwill Zwelithini to opening of the KZN Legislature at the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday. (Moeketsi Mamane)

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ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini has made a call to the KwaZulu-Natal government to partner with him in a plan to construct a multimillion-rand dam. This, he said addressing MPLs during the opening of the KZN Legislature at the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday, could be a lasting solution to the province’s water shortage problems.

Zwelithini said he has already held talks with Britain’s Prince Charles and a host of London business people who have shown interest in the project. He said the economic benefits of such a project would be massive should the project become a success.

“I would like to use this opportunity to invite the provincial government to get involved in the project as there are already a number of investors who have indicated that they wanted to come on board,” Zwelithini said.

The dam, to be located around the Mzinyathi area, would supply areas in the north of the province, including KwaDukuza north of Durban. Zwelithini, who did not provide additional details on the project, used his speech to dispel perceptions that traditional leaders were not adding any value to people’s lives. Should the narrative which was being pushed by people who know nothing about traditional leadership be allowed to go unchallenged, Zwelithini said, people would end up believing it.

He invited members of the legislature and government representatives to start familiarising themselves with the work of traditional leaders. “There are currently a number of poverty alleviation projects in townships and rural areas which are being spear-headed by traditional leaders,” he said.

Zwelithini, who has been the Zulu king for five decades, also invited members of the media to interrogate the work done by traditional leaders in the province. “This will help them put things into their proper context as they will have a better understanding of what they are writing about,” he said.

(Front, from left) Nothile Vezi, Nomvelo Ngcongo, Sphilezweni Buthelezi, (back, from left) Solumuzi Buthelezi and Sfiso Buthelezi were among the traditional dancers who welcomed Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini at the Royal Showgrounds on Tuesday.

On individuals who use culture to abduct young women before forcing them into marriage, Zwelithini said the practice, known as ukuthwala, was not Zulu culture. “The problem we currently have is that community members who understand Zulu culture keep quiet when they see these things taking place. What the community should do is expose these people who are using our culture to do all sorts of wrong things,” he said.

Communities that turned a blind eye to this, Zwelithini said, also played an active role in creating a dysfunctional society.

“I was disappointed when members of this very legislature and parents at large said nothing when protesters at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) burnt the institution’s property.

“If you look closely, you would find that even the parents destroy public property when they embark on service delivery protests. They are actually saying to these young people if you don’t get what you want you should burn and destroy. We can’t afford to have that kind of a society,” he said.

Zwelithini then criticised the government for introducing what he described as sex education in schools. “We do accept the need to give our boys and girls lessons on how they should stay safe. However, what is taking place under the Comprehensive Sexuality Education is not something that will yield positive results.”

According to the national Education Department, Comprehensive Sexuality Education was introduced in 2000 to ensure that pupils do not get confusing and misleading messages on sex, sexuality, gender and relationships. However, Zwelithini said traditional leaders in the province would be mobilising the public and various sectors in the province to oppose government’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala told Zwelithini the provincial government would be taking up the matter with the national government.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  king zwelithini
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