Durban - The speculation over Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s health, has taken on a political dimension with the ANC and IFP exchanging blows, accusing each other of seeking to obtain political capital using the monarch’s health.
The war of words stems from two statements, one from Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu monarch and nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Saturday evening claiming that the king was unwell and getting treated in eSwatini, and another by the king’s spokesperson, Prince Africa Zulu, issued on Sunday disputing the king’s reported ill-health.
Zululand District mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi yesterday entered the fray, accusing Prince Africa Zulu of undermining Buthelezi by issuing a contradictory statement. He labelled the statement as a politically calculated ploy that was sponsored by the ANC to discredit Buthelezi.
The mayor cited Buthelezi’s many years as prime minister as testimony of his loyalty, saying that it was unmatched.
“We warn Prince Africa to get off his high horse and immediately desist from being used to advance the political programme of the ANC,” he said.
He warned that others before the spokesperson, who had tried to use the position of royal spokesperson to discredit the prime minister had failed.
Prince Africa Zulu confirmed he had seen the statement by the Zululand mayor and had responded to it.
In response to the mayor’s statement, ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele described him as a wedge driver, accusing him of using the municipality’s letterhead to communicate a political party message.
The ANC spokesperson accused Buthelezi of an uncontrollable desire to use the Zulu royal family to elevate himself politically above everyone within the IFP, “an individual who thrives on corridor gossip, and a source of disunity within the Zulu royal family”.
“For the record, the ANC in this province, out of respect, has avoided relentless requests for comments from the media regarding Zulu royal family internal matters. We are still nursing a hope that all issues involving the Zulu royal family that have played out in the public domain will be resolved internally with political parties keeping a distance,” said Mndebele.
He added that the ruling party had continued to exercise maximum restraint when called by the media to respond to matters involving King Misuzulu and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, insisting that the Zululand mayor’s statement deserved to be treated with contempt.
According to Mndebele, the monarchy was an office of strategic value in the future of the Zulu Kingdom, an institution recognised by the Constitution, which should be protected at all costs.
The spokesperson added that the monarch gives KZN the uniqueness that must be used to advance the social and economic lives of people and the prosperity of the province.
“We have not forgotten that Thulasizwe Buthelezi once defected to the ANC.
“As a reward, he demanded to be deployed as the MEC.
“He quickly returned to the IFP when we rejected his demands,” said the ANC spokesperson.