CALLED BY PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, thank you once again for joining us. I have invited you here today to apprise you of the situation regarding this year’s King Shaka Day celebrations.
As you are aware, last week a tragic loss in the Royal Family necessitated the postponement of our annual celebration of the founder of the Zulu nation. In order to give the Royal Family space to grieve, and out of respect, the celebrations were postponed to this weekend. We intended to hold them on Saturday at the ABSA Stadium.
However, we have been cognisant of an unfolding situation that threatened to negatively affect the success of these celebrations, from a logistical point of view. We have kept a close eye on the situation and have had to make a difficult decision.
The suspension of services this week by PRASA, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, has affected the whole of KwaZulu Natal. Presently there is no indication of when this indefinite suspension might be lifted. This poses a serious difficulty for those who intended to travel into Durban this weekend to attend the King Shaka celebrations.
Following extensive consultations, His Majesty the King has indicated that we must be guided by the best interests of those who wish to celebrate our heritage. We cannot place an inordinate burden on them. At the moment it seems likely that there may be no train service on Saturday to enable transport into Durban.
On His Majesty’s instruction, I therefore wish to announce that the King Shaka Day celebrations will be postponed once again. A new date has been set in consultation with the Premier of KwaZulu Natal. The celebrations will thus be held on Sunday 7 October as the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
We trust that this will allow time for the Department of Transport to successfully engage with PRASA to resolve the present impasse. We understand the concern for the safety of staff as well as commuters, following incidents of arson last Friday. However we are also deeply concerned about the impact of this suspension of services on the millions of commuters who rely on trains to reach their places of work.
The Zulu nation has been celebrating King Shaka Day for 46 years. To date, the postponement of these celebrations is unprecedented. But we believe it is necessary, in order to ensure that all those who wish to honour King Shaka kaSenzangakhona and the rich legacy of our nation, are able to do so.
Traditionally, Amakhosi of the Zulu nation hold a second celebration the day after King Shaka Day. This second celebration rotates each year to a different district, enabling as many people as possible to participate. While it is unprecedented that this second celebration precedes the main celebration, we have agreed that it should go ahead as planned to avoid incurring additional costs.
Amakhosi will thus host this second celebration on Sunday, the 30th of September. This year, it takes place at eNsingweni in the area of Inkosi uNzuza.
I wish to call on you again, as members of the media, to please publicise the new date of His Majesty’s celebrations. We look forward to gathering on Sunday 7 October at the Moses Mabhida Stadium to honour King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.
I thank you.