Thousands of Zulus gathered in Ulundi for an Imbizo convened by King Goodwill Zwelithini. At the top of the agenda was the issue of communal land. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
King Zwelithini and his supporters need to understand that South Africa is a democratic country governed by a Constitution. While monarchs are important in preserving cultural heritage and tradition, they cannot dictate government policy.

The recent aggressive stance by the King in protecting the Zulu people's land at all costs is not only dangerous but shows how the monarch is stubbornly resisting progressive change.

It reminds me of 1994 when KwaZulu-Natal was opposed to the first democratic elections.

Once they realized that South Africa was ready to move forward and host their first elections, political parties in the province desperately scrambled to get on the ballot paper. I cannot help but foresee a similar situation taking place with regard to land reform.

South Africans are ready and yearning for land redistribution, they are tired of the elite having access to the majority of the country's resources . As much as the conversation has been about white elites owning the land, this also applies to the centralized institutions that have vast unused land e.g: SOE’s, private sector, government departments and monarchs.

One has to then wonder how did the monarchy get to this point where they think that they can ignore or bypass government policy?

I say the problem has been created by continuous enabling of the monarch to supersede government protocol and constitutional procedures. Even when Zuma was the President, there was always tension as to who is more superior in KZN? The King or President Zuma? As the argument was that since the King was the head of the Zulu’s, President Zuma was superior.

This idea is completely wrong. We are not ruled by monarchs. The highest office in the country is that of the President, and no one is above that!

The lines between cultural tradition and government protocol have been blurred to such an extent that it is difficult to implement government protocol when it comes to issues involving the monarch.

I urge the monarch not to push the government into a corner. The Zulu royal household must remember that they are still heavily funded by the state through South Africa's tax-paying public. Also, the issue of land redistribution is not an attack against the monarch but is a necessary step to ensure that the needs of the poor dispossessed citizens of this country are met.

* Luthando Kolwapi is a political commentator.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.