Honourable Speaker and Honourable Members;
On behalf of the Official Opposition, the IFP, I greet His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, the heir to our late King, His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, on whom this debate is focussed. We also recognise the presence of the Queen, as well as the Royal Family members.
Let me say from the outset that the IFP, on principle, supports any initiative to honour the heritage of the Zulu Kingdom and the lineage of our Kings. We know, better than anyone, the importance of erecting statues and tombstones as tangible reminders of the strength of our inheritance.
The IFP learnt this from our Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, for he has done more to honour our Kings and our heritage than anyone.
Almost 70 years ago, His Majesty King Cyprian kaBhekuzulu, the father of our late King, tasked Prince Buthelezi with arranging the unveiling of the tombstone of the founder of the Zulu Nation, King Shaka ka-Senzangakhona.
It was at that unveiling that King Cyprian appointed Prince Buthelezi as Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation. Thus, Prince Buthelezi acquired a profound understanding of the value of statues, tombstones and memorials.
Inkatha witnessed time and again Prince Buthelezi’s powerful leadership by example. We applauded him when he erected a tombstone in honour of his uncle Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme.
It was sad that, more than thirty years after his passing, the ANC had not yet honoured the founder of Africa’s oldest liberation movement by erecting Dr Seme’s tombstone.
But Prince Buthelezi’s close relationship with his mentor, and his consistent example of honouring our heritage, made it natural for him to be the one to do so.
With this background, the IFP supports the proposal to erect a statue of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. It would not be anything that has not been done before.
What we cannot understand, however, is why the ANC wants to put this statue on rented premises, when it is already talking about moving the Legislature away from this place.
A statue of King Goodwill Zwelithini, the longest reigning King of the Zulu Nation, rightly belongs alongside the statue of King Shaka, the founder of the Zulu Nation, which stands in Ulundi.
What is also in Ulundi, is a state-of-the-art Provincial Legislature building, which was the seat of South Africa’s first non-racial, non-discriminatory government; the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Executive Authority.
It has a House that seats 130 members and a gallery accommodating 650 guests. There are offices for the Premier, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and all Ministers, as well as departmental offices.
There is ministerial housing, as well as housing for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Premier and senior managers. And there are 131 four-roomed apartments to accommodate MPLs.
All of this belongs the current KZN Government, but none of it is being used. In fact, it has stood unused for 18 years while the ANC-led Government squandered billions of Rand renting duplicate space.
Ulundi is where the statue of King Goodwill Zwelithini should be erected, because Ulundi is where the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature should rightly be.
It would be appropriate both in terms of our democratic heritage and the heritage of the Zulu Nation, and it would be, by far, the best financial decision, freeing up billions of Rand with which the KwaZulu-Natal Government can build houses and schools, fix roads and equip hospitals, feed schoolchildren, provide water, create jobs and invest in our youth.
There is no more fitting tribute to His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu than to truly serve his people.
Prince Buthelezi has given us the example. Under his leadership more than 6 000 classrooms were built in KwaZulu, and it was done without the massive budget provided by a democratic government.
In fact, before 1994, with extremely limited resources and without recourse to taxpayers’ money, Prince Buthelezi did more to honour the Zulu Royal Family, the Zulu Nation and our Zulu heritage than this Government has done in the past thirty years.
Lest we forget, it was Prince Buthelezi who ensured that the monarchy was officially recognised the moment the KwaZulu Government was given autonomy to legislate.
It was Prince Buthelezi who insisted on a budget for the King. It was Prince Buthelezi who ensured that palaces were built for the King, that the King was allocated protectors and provided with static security.
It was Prince Buthelezi who insisted that the King’s salary be higher than his own as Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government, in recognition of the King’s status, because the King had been head of government before the defeat of the Zulu Nation. Prince Buthelezi’s constant goal has been to refurbish the institution of the monarchy.
It was Prince Buthelezi who insisted that a day be set aside for His Majesty to open and address the Legislative Assembly, and, after 1994, the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. It was Prince Buthelezi who insisted that His Majesty receive the royal salute.
It was Prince Buthelezi who gave up his seat during constitutional negotiations when the ANC and the National Party refused to allow the King a seat at the table.
It was Prince Buthelezi who caused Parliament to be reconvened for one day to insert a clause in the Constitution recognising the Zulu monarch.
It was Prince Buthelezi who restored the graves of our Kings.
And it was Prince Buthelezi who protected all the land of the Zulu Kingdom when he created the Ingonyama Trust, placing it under the sole custodianship of His Majesty our King.
We have not forgotten that in 2018 a report by a High-Level panel headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, made recommendations that the Ingonyama Trust Act must be repealed and the ANC has not rejected the recommendations.
Even today we don’t know what the former KZN Legislature Speaker, Ms Lydia Johnson and the former KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu submitted on our behalf without consulting us as views contained in the submissions presented to the High-Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change for the repeal of the Ingonyama Trust Act. I think the ANC in this House must come clean on this matter. I call upon you Hon Speaker, to table the report in this House without any further delay.
The IFP learnt from Prince Buthelezi. We honour our Kings and the heritage of the Zulu Nation. It is good to see the ANC finally starting to learn from Prince Buthelezi as well. We challenge them, however, to honour the late King appropriately, by placing this statue where it rightly belongs: at the historical seat of governance of the Zulu Kingdom.
This statue, and this Legislature, belong in Ulundi. Ubumbulu esingabufuni!
I thank you.