Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation
I am surprised by the knee-jerk reaction of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to my statement of last night in which I raised concerns over His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s security. They have accused me of acting without information, and even suggest a political agenda. This is an extraordinary accusation, creating a political confrontation where none existed.
My statement last night was made in accordance with my responsibility to His Majesty the King. It would have been a grave dereliction of duty had I not raised this matter with the urgency that it warranted.
The information I received on the imminent withdrawal of SAPS VIP Protectors came from an Advocate of the High Court who has been staying at KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace since before the passing of Her Majesty the Regent. The Advocate was conveying information received directly from the Brigadier in Charge of security at the Palace.
There is no reason for the Brigadier in Charge to have misinformed us, and indeed, the Provincial Commissioner has not denied issuing this instruction.
Our reasonable and urgent concern at this information was compounded by the fact that not a single member of the SAPS reacted when, following the reading of the late Regent’s will, someone with dubious legitimacy stood up and began creating a stir, refusing to heed instruction that he be seated. The situation very quickly became tense, and members of the Royal Protection Unit were forced to whisk the King away.
Immediately after this incident, I was with the Queen Mother, Queen Mayvis (maZungu), inside the Palace when Colonel Radebe came with several officers to suggest to me that, based on this incident, His Majesty should be taken to eSwatini immediately.
I found it strange that the SAPS should want the King to leave his Palace just moments after he had been named as king, as though they felt that the Swati Police could offer His Majesty better protection.
I explained that His Majesty could not leave immediately, as we had not yet had a chance to meet and he had requested the opportunity convey to me a message from His Majesty King Mswati III. We would therefore be meeting the following day.
Colonel Radebe suggested that that meeting be held at KwaPhindangene. However, as the King had already been appointed, I explained that such meeting would need to take place at the Palace. The Queen Mother indicated that there should be no problem with this, provided that security be increased at the Palace while our meeting was being held.
At that point, a member of the Royal Family urged that I should be accompanied home that night by SAPS officers, considering what had taken place after the reading of the Regent’s will. The SAPS were already prepared to do this. However, we became quite distressed when they left our vehicles and returned to the Palace while we were still some distance from KwaPhindangene. It is well known that most assassinations take place as targets are arriving home.
Accordingly, I had to act when Advocate Mshololo contacted me with great urgency, informing me that the SAPS VIP Protectors advised that they had been instructed to withdraw and would not be rendering their services to His Majesty the King as of the following day.
It is beyond question that His Majesty the King requires protection at this critical time. I cannot fathom how the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal can turn this into a political matter, accusing me of informing the nation before “checking the facts”; despite having no facts themselves – which they have now called on the Provincial Commissioner to provide.
We have been further surprised to learn that Minister Cele met at KwaKhethothandayo Royal Palace with the two members of the Royal Family who had been creating ructions, and that the Minister of Police remarked that they “also need protection”. In light of this, it is self-evident that the SAPS understands the much greater need to protect His Majesty the King.
I take strong exception to the accusations being made by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal that the performance of my duties is done with the intention to create a rift between the Royal Family and the ruling Party. I cannot help but be reminded that it is always the ANC in this Province that scuppers political reconciliation talks, as they have done since the days of the People’s War.
The matter of the King’s safety is not political. Yet they have muscled in with a political attack on my integrity. This is highly irresponsible in such a serious situation.
We appreciate the Premier’s assurances today, made through the media, that security will be maintained at all the Royal Palaces. The Royal Family is relieved to read that previous instructions appear to have been reversed. Ultimately, the safety and well-being of His Majesty the King rests on this commitment.
It is therefore hoped that we will receive official communication in this regard.