Zulu King calls for peace between his people and Indians amid violence and looting in South Africa
The King said that the poor would suffer most from the weakened economy as instigators of violence disrupt vital supply routes of food and medicine, especially during the current third wave of Covid.
JOHANNESBURG: Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini has appealed to his nation to live in peace with the Indian community in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where more than a third of the 1.4 million South African citizens of Indian descent live, trade and work.
What's happening between us (Zulus) and the Indians, with immediate effect, must come to an end, the King said on Wednesday afternoon as rampant violence and looting continued across the province for a sixth day even as he delivered his address on national television.
Tensions have been running high after groups, many of them armed, in mainly Indian suburbs across the country and especially in the port city of Durban, began mobilising to ward off attacks and looting which has seen many Indian-owned businesses and factories among those razed to the ground by looters and arsonists.
"Our Indian brothers are our neighbours and we have the second biggest population of Indians in KwaZulu-Natal outside of India and through that, we have had certain people who have come to us to say thank you to the Zulu nation and to the Zulu royal family that you are living with our Indian brothers in peace. So I appeal to everyone that we embrace the Indians because we share our land with the Indians and through that I want to appeal for peace and I want to thank you," he said.
Misuzulu called on his people to end the looting and violence which started off as a protest against the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma, who is also of Zulu origin, but swiftly escalated into violent looting and arson by thousands of people, with police and the army called in by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday completely overwhelmed.
Zuma started a 15-month sentence last Wednesday after the country's Apex Constitutional Court found him guilty of contempt of court because he refused to return to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, where he has been repeatedly accused of involvement in corruption by witnesses.
"I believe that it is not the right way of expressing our dissatisfaction. It creates a picture of a people who have lost their dignity. What is so saddening is that so many of those who are drawn to this lawlessness and criminality are members of the Zulu nation. It has brought great shame to us all as fingers are pointed at my father's people," Misuzulu said as he recalled the passing of both his parents within weeks of each other three months ago that led to his ascension to the kingship.
"I never thought after the tragic passing of my parents that I would see my own people so complicit in burning down the country. I fully understand the depression born of poverty and unemployment which led our people, especially the youth, to join in this chaos. But I must appeal to all of us to take a great step back and consider the damage that is being done by our own actions," Misuzulu said.
The King said that the poor would suffer the most from the weakened economy as the instigators of the violence disrupt vital supply routes of food and medicine, especially during the current third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I appeal to the Zulu nation to withdraw from their participation in the destruction of our country South Africa. I appeal for calm (and) peace to be restored. Let us not allow politics to taint our dignity for our nation to be led to destruction," he said.
Government security agencies and ministers said earlier on Wednesday that the violence and looting was no longer about Zuma's imprisonment but organised by people with other vested interests.
Among suspects being investigated as being the instigators are senior former intelligence officers and other politicians loyal to Zuma who have all not been named or charged yet.