King Goodwill Zwelithini said the ongoing killings of white farmers should not only be condemned by the white community, but should be the concern of the entire nation.
Delivering his speech at the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, the king also challenged the rest of South Africa to speak out against racism instead of making it only the problem of those who were being discriminated against.
He said the lack of job opportunities for young people should not only be discussed by a certain racial group “because this would affect all of us”.
King Zwelithini said South Africa was at a crossroads because of its failure to implement social cohesion.
He said the government should go back to the drawing board to plan new programmes to visit various communities.
“Let’s come up with programmes to visit communities in Chatsworth, Phoenix, KwaMashu or Inanda when there are problems between Africans and Indians communities.”
Zwelithini called for greater unity among political parties in KwaZulu-Natal and that they should avoid the violent scenes witnessed during the President Jacob Zuma’s recent State of the National Address.
“Parliament has lost its dignity. What used to be a grand occasion when international guests are in our country has become a spectacle where chaos is the order of the day when the international spotlight is in our country,” said the monarch.
“It is not an exaggeration that what we see in national parliament brings shame. I appeal to you as your king, regardless of your political affiliation to work at ensuring that in the KZN Legislature none of the scenes witnessed in parliament takes place in this province,” he pleaded.
He also called for introspection on political parties regarding who they elect to hold public office. According to the monarch there is a danger that some parties are electing people who are just eager to fill their pockets during the five-year term in public office.
“The province and the country needs vision driven and courageous leaders so that future generations do not suffer because of the decisions taken today. As public representatives, ask yourself whether you are still living up to the oath of office.”
He cautioned the ANC to wisely use the mandate given by the electorate, warning of high levels of poverty in many communities.
He also applauded the role played by opposition parties, calling on them to continue with their oversight role and providing alternatives to the province’s problems.
“You are discharging your duties well and that will strengthen democracy, continue in playing that role,” he said.
He also warned against the growing use of violence to settle political scores, saying the scenes witnessed in the build-up to the August 3 local government elections where people were killed should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
He also called on civil servants to be more committed when serving the public, citing the Esidimeni episode in which over a hundred patients died as a wake-up call to everyone on how mentally ill patients should be treated.