Zuma's decision to resign a sign that he was a hero – King Zwelithini

2018-02-27 18:35
King Goodwill Zwelithini (AFP)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (AFP)

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Pietermaritzburg – Former president Jacob Zuma's decision to resign was a sign that he was a hero, King Goodwill Zwelithini said on Tuesday.

"I welcome Zuma's decision to resign as the president. I did not look at it as a sign of cowardliness but as that of a hero," he said when he officially opened the KwaZulu-Natal legislature at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg.

Zuma was one of the dignitaries at the opening ceremony.

There were cheers and ululations when he arrived at the venue.

The king suggested that only a "stupid" person would look at Zuma's decision as sign of cowardice.

"He did the right thing. I thank you Nxamalala (Zuma's clan name)," he said.

Zuma resigned two weeks ago, a day after his party's newly elected national executive committee (NEC) recalled him.

"Because of Zuma's decision, South Africa has a new president, Cyril Ramaphosa," said the king.

Ramaphosa was sworn in as the new president of the country two days after Zuma's resignation.

"He (Ramaphosa) should be awarded an opportunity to show his leadership capabilities," he said.

'Back off'

King Zwelithini said they had also anticipated that Ramaphosa would reshuffle his Cabinet, after taking over from Zuma.

"What we are asking for, after his reshuffle, is that his decision with the assistance of God would take the country forward as he swore to God when he was sworn in. What's important now is taking the country forward," he said.

Ramaphosa made changes to his Cabinet late on Monday.

He replaced former finance minister Malusi Gigaba with Nhlanhla Nene - one of the most anticipated changes since Ramaphosa took over as the president.

King Zwelithini said there were people who needed to be thanked for the country's smooth leadership transition.

He said the country's military and police were some of the people who needed to be congratulated for not involving themselves during the transition period.

Zwelithini said the country's military was unlike other countries' militaries, who play a role in deciding their countries' leaders.

The Zimbabwean military recently played a pivotal role in removing former president Robert Mugabe who had been leading the country for decades.

The king denied the allegations that Zulu warriors were mobilised to prevent Zuma's ousting as the country's president.

"I'm the only one who steers the Zulu warship," he said, adding that politicians should "back off".

'Shoddy work'

He asked the provincial and national Department of Agriculture to work with him to unite black and white farmers, saying the sector was the "backbone of every nation".

"If the people in the country cannot feed themselves they are a doomed nation. We cannot afford to outsource our food because this is a huge risk.

"I wish to bring together white and black farmers in KZN so that they can share knowledge and ideas to develop the agricultural sector and fight poverty. There's so much noise in the country because people are hungry," he said.

He also used the platform to complain about the R10m renovations at his eMachobeni Royal Palace in Ngwavuma, northern KZN.

"The work done there does not reflect that R10m was used during the renovations. The work done there doesn't even cost R7m. Money was stolen there," he said.

He asked the provincial Department of Public Works to visit the palace to inspect the "shoddy work".

He then turned to the topic of political killings, saying the whole of South Africa was talking about the political killings in KZN which "emanate from intra-party politics", where "people fight for government positions".

"These killings which occur in rural and urban areas are carelessly described as political murders," he said.

He warned that it was dangerous to "glorify" crime.

"How does a murder orchestrated by a tenderpreneur, who wants to remove a stumbling block to riches, become a political murder?" he asked.

Sihle Zikalala, the acting KZN premier, welcomed the king when he arrived at the ceremony.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  goodwill zwelithini  |  pietermaritzburg

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