Political spat at royal event

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini. Picture: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini. Picture: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government.

Published Mar 17, 2024


Durban — A KwaZulu-Natal government event to honour late Zulu king Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo turned ugly when a political spat erupted on Saturday.

The event, attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and other government leaders, went south when recently appointed Zulu traditional prime minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi was interrupted by Economic Development MEC Siboniso Duma, who abruptly grabbed the microphone from him while he was introducing King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.

Buthelezi, who is also an IFP leader and mayor of the Zululand District Municipality, had taken a swipe at the ANC leadership over what he labelled a sign of disrespect towards the royal household, and had appealed to Ramaphosa to rein in the provincial leadership.

“Our only request, your Excellency, is for the provincial government of KZN to emulate your example of respecting our king. A senior leader of the ANC in this province, Mr Bheki Mtolo… ”

At this point Duma got up and pulled the microphone from Buthelezi, accusing him of clumsiness and a lack of respect for the occasion.

“Let us demonstrate respect for what we are here for; we thought you were here to introduce the king, and now you are spoiling such a great ceremony. You are becoming clumsy, unlike your predecessor (Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi), who respected government events,” said Duma.

Turning to the king, Duma indicated they would no longer give Buthelezi a chance to speak.

“Your majesty, this is your event and the prime minister has spoiled the event in the presence of guests,” he said, before calling on the king’s poet, Buzetsheni Mdletshe, to introduce the king.

The event, at KwaCeza Sports Field in Zululand, was held to observe the 110th anniversary of King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, who is regarded as one of the key figures in the struggle against foreign occupation in modern-day KZN.

In the past, there has been squabbling over the scheduling of the event, with some accusing the ANC of trying to use it as a campaign platform in the IFP stronghold.

Sunday Tribune