Johannesburg - King Goodwill Zwelithini has called for political calm and warned that the country faces losing international investment through intolerance among political parties during the election season.
Opening the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)legislature on Tuesday, the king called on parties in the province to campaign peacefully. He said parties should be prepared to accept defeat, as well as victory.
Addressing MPLs and other dignitaries in Zulu, the king said investors would be reluctant to invest in a country that did not have political tolerance and unity.
“Therefore it is important that political parties work with the Independent Electoral Commission, NGOs, religious groups, the media and traditional leaders for peaceful elections.
“Parties that lose should be careful of how they respond to the outcome, and a winning party should also be careful about how it celebrates, because if we have peaceful elections there will be many opportunities to attract investors.
“There are no investors who would come to a country that cannot run its affairs correctly, as business people are always watching you.
“If there is war talk, investors would be reluctant and there will be so much unemployment,” the king said. Zwelithini also backed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign, saying it had the potential to boost the country’s economy, emphasising that KZN should invest more in agriculture.
“We can no longer rest on our laurels. We need a renewed energy and ability to turn things around in KZN. The cost of living has gone astronomically high. For us to live in these times, it will call for a new way of thinking.
“I guess this is the same spirit of Thuma Mina that the State president has been preaching,” he said.
Zwelithini also expressed support for agriculture, which he described as the backbone of “every civilised society the world over”.
He said instead of importing food from other countries, South Africa should be turned into a Garden of Eden through agriculture.
He said through hard work, KZN had the potential to produce enough food to supply the whole country, as well as neighbouring countries.
Outgoing Premier Willies Mchunu, who will be delivering his State of the Province Address today, said the king’s call for tolerance was relevant since the province had been experiencing a surge in the killing of politicians.
“The calm will never happen if we don’t have respect for each other, which the king talked about,” said Mchunu.