South Africa

THE ZULU KING’S SPEECH

Misuzulu kaZwelithini vows to help government fight violent crime, especially in strife-torn KZN

Misuzulu kaZwelithini vows to help government fight violent crime, especially in strife-torn KZN
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini at the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature at Oval Cricket Stadium on 23 February 2023 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

Appearing in public for the first time since a widely reported scandal, Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini has vowed to help in the fight against rampant crime.

Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini has vowed to help the government in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), rampant crime and wide-scale killings in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces.

The king, who was speaking at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, began his speech nervously. He was appearing in public for the first time since there were reports that he was involved in a raunchy scandal.

Details of the alleged scandal were widely circulated on social networks and got coverage in the media, giving further ammunition to the king’s detractors, inside and outside the Zulu royal house.

In his address on Thursday, the king also vowed to fight the killing of amakhosi (traditional leaders) and councillors, and said he stood by the commitments he made when he was inaugurated last year to spearhead the war against crime.

He said the government must move with speed in taking away illegal firearms from criminals as most murders and other crimes were committed using these weapons.

Read more in Daily Maverick:Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini vows to tackle KZN assassination scourge

Misuzulu said being the Zulu king had placed a huge responsibility on him as he has to continue the programmes started by his late father, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, and also start his own initiatives, which are necessitated by current conditions.

It has become a tradition for the Zulu king to open the KZN legislature each year. In previous years, this responsibility fell on the shoulders of Zwelithini, who died in 2021 and whose death was followed by a frenzy of succession battles between royal heirs and their supporters within the royal family.

The matter is still in court and some Zulu royal family members are adamant that Misuzulu is not the legitimate king.

Seemingly, Misuzulu was welcomed and supported by a range of people in KwaZulu-Natal, including the majority of the Zulu people. But there are many others who are not convinced. 

Former president Jacob Zuma with legislature deputy speaker Themba Mthembu. (Photo: Mandla Langa)

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is accompanied by Hlengiwe Mavimbela as he arrives at the Oval stadium.(Photo: Mandla Langa)

AmaZulu King MisuZulu and Premier Nomusa Dube. (Photo: Mandla Langa)

ANC chairperson Siboniso Duma and Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka. (Photo: Mandla Langa)


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On Thursday, he arrived at about 11am at a packed venue. Guests included former president Jacob Zuma and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Inkatha Freedom Party founding leader and traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation.

In his first speech at the event since ascending the throne, Misuzulu paid homage to his late father and his late mother, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, for their visionary leadership.  

Speaking in isiZulu, the king said: “As I am addressing this esteemed legislature for the first time, I would like to thank and respect my father, the late King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, and my mom.

“I think we will all agree that we were blessed to have had an enduring and visionary king, who was on the throne for almost 50 [years], becoming the longest-serving king of AmaZulu.

“During his reign, the [now] late king was able to preserve the Zulu kingdom and all its ceremonies and customs, and also played a critical role in nation-building, preserving cultures and in economic development issues.” Misuzulu added that he would continue this tradition.

The king said he would also preserve the Ingonyama Trust, of which he is the sole trustee. The trust was established in 1994 by what was then the KwaZulu government, in terms of the KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Act of 1994. The trust is the overseer of about 2.8 million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal, most of which was under the custodian of the erstwhile “homeland” government of KwaZulu.

The trust has come under fire from land activists who claim that bestowing such a right to the king disempowers the majority of the rural people who live on this land and who cannot sell it or use it to raise funds to develop themselves as there are no title deeds for the land.

Amabutho arriving in high spirits, singing traditional songs. (Photo: Mandla Langa)

Other critics accuse the trust of preventing women from accessing the land as they have to have male relatives to gain access to it.

“As far as the Ingonyama Trust is concerned, I am satisfied that it is necessary and its role is still as relevant as ever, and its existence makes KwaZulu-Natal exceptional compared with other provinces,” said the king.

“I believe that, working together with other stakeholders, we can improve the Ingonyama Trust and ensure that it achieves the goals for which it was set up for, which is to preserve our ancestral land and also ensure the welfare of our people who live in areas under traditional leaders.”

He added: “When I was inaugurated, I made a commitment that I will fight the scourge of violence against women and children. In November, I led a march to highlight the violence against women and children, and this march was held in Durban and attended by men, and it was the first of its kind. I did this because I strongly believe that violence against women and children is one of the biggest impediments against equality and dignity of women and girl children.

“As your king, it is very sad for me to admit that we live in one of the most violent provinces, where incidences of violence against women and children are very high.

“We live in a region where many citizens are living in fear. We live in a region where daily and nightly our people come under attacks and are sometimes killed by violent criminals, where women are fearful of people they know and people who are supposed to protect and console them in times of need,” Misuzulu said.

“In conclusion, I implore government leaders to take their role seriously and be responsive to community needs. I implore government, business, religious and traditional leaders to be shining examples for our nation. I implore all of you, wherever you are, to lead with morality and dignity.”  

The ANC, DA and IFP commended and applauded the king’s speech. DM

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