Cape Town - Deputy President David Mabuza said King Goodwill Zwelithini was a torchbearer in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB.
Mabuza, who was on Friday chairing the meeting of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac), said the king had worked closely with the council.
He described his death as a blow to Sanac and the work that he has done over the years.
“In his opening remarks, the deputy president observed that women, particularly young women, remain vulnerable to contracting HIV and that society had an enormous responsibility to eradicate those vulnerabilities so that women may enjoy the same rights as men. These are issues that were central in King Goodwill Zwelithini’s agenda towards moral regeneration,” said the presidency in a statement.
“The passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini makes this day all the more wrought with a twist of pain and a spear to the heart of all South Africans who identify with the ideals of development, justice and equality of opportunity of all genders.
“In the fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS, TB and STIs, King Goodwill Zwelithini further played a pioneering role for the betterment of the lives of the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the entire South Africa. He took a brave stance and spoke uncomfortable truths on prevailing socio-economic challenges facing our nation. In recognition of the social impact of his work in changing the lives of the people, the University of Zululand conferred him with an honorary doctorate,” it said.
“The passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini is a major blow to the work of the South African National Aids Council, which he had immensely enriched,” it added.