Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has urged for constituency offices to be used to serve across the political divide. File picture: ANA

Pietermaritzburg - Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has used the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature to warn against aloof public representatives, urging for constituency offices to be used to serve across the political divide. 

Delivering the keynote address at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, the king cautioned of a widening gap between public representatives and the electorate. "You must always remember that although you are sent by your parties to legislatures and parliament, when you take the oath of office you become public representatives, serving everyone, not just your party members," said the king.

He added that the electorate was becoming more aware of politicians who only visit them ahead of the elections when they needed their votes and disappear once elected to public office.   

The king said there were people that were not getting services because of their political affiliation, and cautioned against such conduct from government officials, adding that he would continue to preach the gospel of serving people beyond political affiliation. 

"If the office of the speaker does not agree with my observations, my appeal is that an investigation should be conducted on the functioning of constituency offices in order to determine whether there is contact and communication between public representatives and members of the public," said the king. 

He said while citizens' votes count equally, but they were still not able to participate on an equal basis, citing participatory mechanisms established to ensure citizens' participation, access to information and monitoring inside and outside the legislature as being ineffective

The gathering was attended by high profile figures, including former president Jacob Zuma, and former KwaZulu-Natal premiers Ben Ngubane and Sbu Ndebele. 

The king said Zuma’s decision to resign was a demonstration of bravery, not a cowardly act. "I applaud Zuma’s decision of February 14 and only a fool would not appreciate that what he did ensured that our country is not plunged into crisis as it sometimes happens in other African countries," said the king. 

The king also applauded members of the South African National Defence Force staying clear of political developments in the country, saying they set a good example for other African countries by not meddling in political affairs of the country.

African News Agency/ANA