Addressing the Zulu nation for the first time, King MisuZulu kaZwelithini condemned acts of violence and looting in KwaZulu-Natal while civil unrest spreads through the province.
Appealing to the “pride” and “dignity” of the Zulu nation, newly appointed monarch Misuzulu kaZwelithini called for calm and an end to acts of destruction as he delivered his maiden speech in Ulundi.
He said violence and looting was not the right way to express dissatisfaction at the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.
“I never thought, after the tragic passing of my parents, that I would see our own people so complicit in burning down the country.”
King Misuzulu, who struggled through most of his speech delivered in both English and isiZulu, was being guided by his prime minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who could be heard whispering notes in the background.
The king expressed disappointment that “members of the Zulu nation” had taken part in the carnage, but acknowledged that poverty and unemployment had led many — especially the young — towards criminality.
King Misuzulu warned that the economic fallout from the destruction would affect the poor most severely.
“When food cannot be delivered because trucks and warehouses are being burnt by our people, we will go hungry.”
He said partaking in riots and looting at the height of the third wave of Covid-19 was akin to “committing suicide”.
King Misuzulu condemned the racial animosity that had erupted between Zulu and Indian communities in Durban during the riots.
Last week, regiments of amabutho (Zulu warriors) arrived at Nkandla to bolster the ranks of Umkhonto weSizwe veterans in support of Zuma. According to Buthelezi, this was a “clear act of defiance” which resulted in the expulsion of regiment leader Zihogo “Mgilija” Nhleko — a move supported by the king.
By Tuesday, 26 people had been killed and 187 arrested in KwaZulu-Natal in the chaos. DM