King Misuzulu has appealed for calm and peace as looting continues
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DURBAN - AMAZULU King Misuzulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini on Wednesday addressed the Zulu nation for the first time since he was appointed king a few months ago.
He held a media briefing in Ulundi where he said he was saddened by the news of racial tensions between Indians and his subjects in the province. The king also appealed to all Zulus and all South Africans involved in looting and the destruction of property to stop immediately, saying the impact would be felt by the poor.
He urged people not to allow politics to change their behaviour.
“I’m quite disturbed by what I have seen taking place in the country, especially here in KwaZulu-Natal. It made me sad to see my father’s people getting involved in such shameful deeds, especially after I have lost both my parents recently.
“The Zulu nation is one of the biggest, and well respected in the world, so I appeal to all Zulus to withdraw from participating in the destruction of property,” he said.
In his short address, the king said Zulus had lived peacefully side by side with Indians “to a point that government officials from India thanked Zulus and showed appreciation for the good relationship with South African Indians”.
The king said the province had the largest population of Indians outside of India.
There were instances where the king appeared to be battling to read his speech, particularly the isiZulu version, but prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister, apologised on the king’s behalf and said he had a sight problem, and was supposed to bring his reading glasses.
His address came amid growing tensions between the two race groups. There were reports of escalating tensions in Phoenix and Verulam after several people were killed. It was believed that people were shot after they tried to loot Indian-owned businesses. The killing was attributed to increasing vigilantism, where locals vowed to prevent shopping malls and other businesses from being looted.
The tensions also prompted a visit to Phoenix by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Wednesday.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, deputy minister of State Security Zizi Kodwa said it was clear that the unrest was organised by people with experience in big operations.
On Tuesday, State Security minister Ayanda Dlodlo confirmed that her department had received information that State Security Agency members were allegedly behind the unrest, and said the allegations were being investigated. So far 1 068 people have been arrested following 156 incidents in the province.