Durban - King Goodwill Zwelithini has defended a R300 million development at his Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma, saying that, despite media reports to the contrary, it was not for his personal benefit but for the maidens who go to the annual Reed Dance.
He said it was an insult to him, his family and the Zulu nation for people to think it was wrong of him to make attempts for the girls to have ablution facilities when attending traditional events at the palace.
Part of the plan was that the palace would be surrounded by hotels, restaurants and B&Bs that would create job opportunities.
Accommodation facilities for thousands of maidens would be built.
“The royal household has no word in this development. They do not have any powers to hire or grant contracts. A report that there is a royal wife who has power to do something is an insult to me and the royal household,” he said.
He said he had gone to the National Department of Arts and Culture to ask for funding for the project.
“Why should our children (maidens) have no place to relieve themselves when attending events at the palace?” he asked.
He lashed out at Zulu men for keeping quiet when people criticised the good things he wanted for the Zulu nation.
“If we fail to be men enough and defend our nation, let men then wear traditional Zulu woman cow skin skirts (isidwaba) and give our man attire (amabheshu) to the women.”
He said even the legislature had been quiet about the matter.
The king also asked MPLs to revise the idea of community events called izimbizo.
“We can avoid a lot of wasteful expenditure. I have no doubt that revision of these events can benefit us with money saving,” he said.
He asked MPLs to put aside their political differences and work together on service.
“People did not elect you to give them trouble but to lead them,” he said.
“Let there be no politically linked killings in this province, damage to property and fights between people of different races.”
On Thursday, Premier Senzo Mchunu will deliver the State of the Province address.