King Goodwill Zwelithini has called on Premier Sihle Zikalala to ensure that his cabinet does not make empty promises to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
He was addressing the provincial cabinet at his Osuthu Palace in Nongoma, Zululand, on Thursday as the new premier introduced his executive to the king.
He said that through their votes, residents of the province had entrusted the ANC with running an effective government.
“The executive should keep the government in touch with the population and alert it to issues on which the public feels strongly about.
"There is no country that can be governed through empty promises,” he said.
King Zwelithini presented Zikalala, his MECs and Speaker Nontembeko Boyce and her deputy, Mluleki Ndobe, with a cow.
While the provincial government gave the king two cattle of the Beefmaster and Boran breeds, the speaker’s office gave him two Nguni breeds.
The king told Zikalala to prioritise young people who were slowly losing hope of getting a better life because of lack of skills and employment opportunities. He also advised the premier about the importance of accountability to the general public.
“Although governments are directly accountable to the general public, it is up to you to call members of the executive to account.
“An effective legislature is therefore a key element in ensuring public faith in political processes,” he said.
King Zwelithini said the provincial legislature should make sure that ordinary people participated in politics beyond elections. “This democracy can effectively grow only if the general public is involved in all political activities.”
He also called on the government and his Ingonyama Trust Board to avoid taking each other to court on matters that could be resolved through discussions. “It is not nice when the government and Ingonyama take each other to court or spend public money on lawyers.
“If we were to work together they would be no fighting between us. Therefore, there is no reason for fighting between the Ingonyama Trust Board and my government, which is under you, Khuzeni (Zikalala),” the king said.
The provincial government should make sure the province’s heritage sites were maintained to attract tourists. He said his palaces, which are an attraction to local and international tourists, were poorly kept.
“I would be happy if you can tell me if the palaces are a reflection of what you talk about when you say they are a tourist attraction,” he said.
Zikalala said his government would prioritise rural economic development so that those living in rural areas could make a living where they lived instead of migrating to cities.
“I can assure you that developing and maintaining heritage and historical sites will be on our agenda under the Department of Tourism and Department of Arts and Culture.
“Palaces are important to promote the whole of KwaZulu-Natal. Therefore we will make sure that they are well maintained. We will continue to support the royal institution and all royal events because they are important for building the nation,” he said.