Buthelezi hits back at KZN ANC’s criticism of his security concerns
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DURBAN - PRINCE Mangosuthu Buthelezi has dismissed as a “knee-jerk reaction” the KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s suggestion that he, as the traditional prime minister to the Zulu Monarchy, had acted without information when he expressed concerns around the security of newly appointed King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
“(The ANC) 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,” said Buthelezi, who had earlier raised concerns at what he described as the imminent withdrawal of an SAPS VIP security detail from the KwaKhangelamankengane Palace.
Buthelezi said his statement (on security concerns) was made in accordance with his responsibility to His Majesty the King, adding it would have been a grave dereliction of duty had he 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,” clarified Buthelezi.
“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 instructions that he be seated. The situation very quickly became tense, and members of the Swati police 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,” he said.
Buthelezi found it strange that the SAPS would want the king to leave his palace just moments after he had been named as king, as though the feeling was that the Swati police could offer His
Majesty better protection.
“Accordingly, I had to act when advocate Mshololo contacted me with great urgency, informing me 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.”
Provincial ANC secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said: “We hope and sincerely trust that the intended agenda is not to create a schism between the ANC-led government and the Royal House of His Majesty the King for political expediency.”
Premier Sihle Zikalala said he had checked with the provincial police commissioner, the MEC for Community Safety and Police Minister Bheki Cele.
“Following these engagements, we hereby reject these allegations as baseless and misleading. All royal palaces are under the protection of the SAPS and this will continue,” Zikalala said.
In response to questions, national police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said protection for the royal family in the province would not be withdrawn.
“It is rather unfortunate that information about a withdrawal was made public without the SAPS leadership being approached for verification. The royal protection is informed by a threat assessment which is reviewed on an ongoing basis,” Naidoo said.