Concern for new Zulu King’s safety after SAPS withdraws VIP protection
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Nongoma - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu nation’s traditional prime minister, has expressed concern for the safety of newly named King Misuzulu kaZwelithini after the South African Police Service (SAPS) started withdrawing its VIP protection.
The new king is the son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and the recently departed Zulu Queen Regent Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, sister to King Mswati III.
The SAPS’s midnight move comes despite clear indications that the new king is facing threats as his naming on Friday evening was vehemently challenged by some princes and he had to be whisked away to safety by assault rifle-wielding security personnel.
Lamenting the move through a statement, Buthelezi said the move was deeply concerning.
“I am deeply distressed by news coming from KwaKhangelamankengane Royal Palace that members of the SAPS VIP Protection Unit have just been instructed to withdraw. They will therefore no longer provide security for His Majesty the King. It is understood that those at the Palace will withdraw tonight, while those providing security where His Majesty will be staying tonight, will withdraw in the morning.
“Neither I nor His Majesty the King, nor any other member of the Royal Family, have been informed of this decision by Government. Nevertheless, members of the SAPS stationed at the Palace have received these instructions from the Provincial Commissioner, purportedly on the basis that His Majesty has not yet been installed by Government and is thus not entitled to VIP protection,” Buthelezi said in a statement just before midnight.
Furthermore, he said with his understanding of how VIP protection is provided, the reason advanced for the withdrawal does not hold water.
“My understanding from years of public service is that SAPS security is not provided on the basis of status, but on the basis of a threat assessment. It seems perfectly clear that His Majesty the King would be placed in a vulnerable position if security were to be withdrawn at this point.
“Despite the clear and present danger this poses, I am informed that the Brigadier in Charge of the SAPS Protectors stationed at the Palace has confirmed to Advocate Mshololo, who is also present at the Palace, that they have been instructed to withdraw. Both the Zulu Royal Family and the Swati Royal Family are shocked by this sudden development,” he said.
To provide an urgent solution, Buthelezi appealed to the Zulu nation to intervene as it has become clear that the new king’s life is in danger.
“I therefore appeal to the nation to assist us in finding a way to continue security for His Majesty the King, to ensure that he is protected at this critical time.
“We are at a loss to know what we can do if government is abandoning the security of the King. I ask that this receive urgent attention so that solutions might be found to protect our monarch.”
Since the new king was whisked to Eswatini around March 14 this year, two days after the passing of his father, the monarch there provided him with VIP protection, even being part of the team that saved him when the royal meeting at KwaKhangelamankengane palace turned chaotic.
However, the presence of the armed Eswatini security team on South African soil is being questioned in some quarters as a violation of international protocols.