Buthelezi backs Zulu King Zwelithini

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has come out in support of Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelethini, saying there are people in his party and community who want to drive a wedge between the two.

He said he was concerned that there were "people trying to separate him and his cousin King Zwelithini".

He called on supporters of the Zulu nation to stand by "their king".

Speaking at Ulundi during the district budget presentation by mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, Buthelezi said he was often accused of "protecting the king".

He said the king's position was of cultural significance to the Zulu nation and must be respected.

"The position the king occupies is not his," Buthelezi said. "He sits in the position of our forefathers, including King Shaka ka Senzangakhona, who built the Zulu nation.

"And we should respect the king because by respecting him we show respect to our forefathers.

"There are many people who do not understand why I will always be against those who want to separate us - heis my king."

Buthelezi was recently accused of giving events organised by Zwelithini the cold shoulder. A fortnight ago Zwelithini organised a marula festival at his palace at KwaNongoma, which was not attended by Buthelezi.

Buthelezi was attending a tombstone unveiling event for the late Prince Gideon Zulu at the time.

Members of the royal family expressed concern about the timing of the event. Some suggested that the unveiling should have been postponed since Zwelithini had given the date of his event first.