SPEECH BY HIS MAJESTY KING GOODWILL ZWELITHINI ON THE
OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE
Pietermaritzburg, February 28, 2003
The Honourable Mr Speaker, Sir, Premier Dr LPHM Mtshali, Deputy State
President Dr JG Zuma, Dr MG Buthelezi, Prince of KwaPhindangene, Minister
of Home Affairs and Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders in
KwaZulu-Natal, Representatives from the National Council of Provinces, the
Provincial Cabinet, the Royal Family, Amakhosi and Izinduna, Provincial
and National Parliamentarians, Diplomatic Community representatives,
representatives from other provinces, members of the media, distinguished
guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Today's official opening of the fourth session of the second KwaZulu-Natal
Legislature is indeed an auspicious occasion and it is my pleasure to
welcome you to share in these important proceedings.
The past twelve months, as you all know have not been very kind to me
and the Royal Family as time and again we had to endure the pain of losing
our beloved ones, some very tragically. We were, however, fortified by
your heartfelt condolences and messages of support. May the souls of all
of those untimely parted with us during the past year rest in peace.
This session of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament opens in the
aftermath of heightened political tension when it was announced that the
legislature might be dissolved in favour of an early election. A sigh of
relief permeated throughout the province and the whole of south Africa
when the decision to dissolve the parliament was rescinded following a
last minute compromise amongst the political parties who make up the
coalition government in this province.
We are not oblivious to the fact that the compromise reached was a
result of collective efforts on the part of coalition partners.
Nevertheless special credit should go to the national leadership of the
IFP and ANC who displayed political maturity and put aside their
ideological differences in the national interest. For years this province
has been plagued by intercine political strife which impacted negatively
on economic growth and service delivery. Now that political violence seems
to have abated after the first democratic elections in 1994, the climate
is ripe for political leaders in this province to get down to the serious
business of uplifting the standard of living of the people of this
The Jordinian King, His Majesty King Abdullah II, when addressing the
World Economic Forum recently, said: "The 21th Century has opened
billions of minds to the possibilities of better life - freedom,
prosperity and hope. and people are demanding leaders who will get them
there: In business and in government; in neighbourhoods and nations,
in every culture of the world, people want leadership that listens,
leadership that serves, leadership that works. In short, people want to
know that those they trust with their futures, have their futures at
heart". I could not agree more with the sentiments expressed by His
Majesty King Abdullah II. We would like to see responsible leaders who
assume the duty of public service with a conviction and a belief in the
need to make a positive and real difference in the lives of their people.
We are encouraged by reports that the general economic situation in
South Africa is improving. this improvement is evidenced by the firming of
the rand by more than 40 percent vis-à-vis other world currencies.
It is even more encouraging to hear that our province's economy grew at
a rate of 3,6% as opposed to 2,8% for the whole of South Africa during the
past financial year. Despite these positive developments on the economic
front, we in KwaZulu-Natal cannot afford to be complacent. We must triple
out efforts to stimulate the economy by attracting new local and foreign
Thousands of our people, especially school leavers, flood the job
market every year in search of job opportunities which do not exist.
Latest statistics from Stats South Africa indicate that at least 34,3% if
the economically active people of this province are not employed. I find
it very difficult to reconcile this discrepancy between the improvement in
the state of the economy on one hand, and the shocking high incidence of
unemployment on the other. The bitter truth is that at this rate of
growth, our economy will not be in the position to absorb all our people
who continue to swell the job market every day: and the permanent solution
cannot be found in the provision of hand-outs in the form of social
grants. If foreign investors cannot create jobs for us, then we mush
create jobs for ourselves.
It is now accepted world-wide that at least 80% of new jobs are created
by the micro economic sector. And it is very strange that in our country
this sector is the most neglected sector in our economy. All sorts of
excuses are being peddled to justify the government's equivocation in
addressing the issue of the small business sector. I would like to take
this opportunity to beseech our leaders in this province to expedite
empowerment projects for the previously disadvantaged communities to
assimilate them into the mainstream economy. This province has the
necessary resources and vast tracts of arable land which could be used for
the benefit of the SMMES.
I am nevertheless pleased by reports that our Provincial Department of
Economic Development and Tourism has ranked the promotion of Black
businesses as its major priority for the coming year. Credit should also
go to our Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, which
during the past year, had unveiled concrete programmes for the development
of the merging Black Farmers. These programmes and many more unveiled by
other Provincial Departments, should be reinforced. For this we the people
of this province should be grateful to the Premier Dr LPHM Mtshali and his
team of Cabinet Ministers.
The scourge of crime continues to haunt us wherever we are: in our
homes, in our cars, in schools, in churches, in the streets and in our
work places. No one is safe anymore - not even members of the Royal
Family. Criminals these days have become so ruthless in their evil deeds
that they will not hesitate to murder someone in cold-blood just for a
cellphone, and they commit these heinous crimes with impunity. The high
incidence of crime is a serious indictment in our justice system, and the
society cannot be faltered in calling for the introduction of a typical
shariah legal system to deal with this situation.
We are tempted to rejoice over reports that the incidence of HIV
infections in our province seems to be declining, but if latest statistics
from Stats South Africa were anything to go by, the death of more than 90
000 people as a result of AIDS and other related diseases in this province
last year, is still too many. This despite our collective efforts as
leaders in conscientising our people about the dangers of AIDS. As titular
Head of the Zulu Nation I have personally embarked on projects aimed at
educating young people about HIV/AIDS. The Bayete HIV is a case in point.
Yet this deadly pandemic continues to decimate our children. If this tide
is not reversed, the impact of HIV/AIDS in our economy in years to come,
will be devastating.
It is disheartening that whilst our resources in the field of health
are overstretched as a result of the incidence of AIDS, our health
department continues to lose large numbers of medical staff who emigrate
in search of greener pastures. According to the South African medical
journal, 3 300 nurses left South Africa in 1999 alone. It is very clear
that this haemorrhage of health care in South Africa in general and in our
province in particular, will have dire consequences on the delivery of
health care in our country in years to come. I appeal to our health
authorities to address this crisis as a matter of urgency.
The Honourable Mr Speaker Sir, ladies and gentlemen let me now address
you an a very thorny issue - the issue of the powers and role of
Traditional Leaders. There is a worrying trend in the manner in which
traditional leaders are being treated by the government. The manner i
which the draft white papers on the Traditional Leadership and Governance,
as well as the Communal Land Rights Bill, have been formulated is
disappointing. Traditional Leaders are neither consulted nor involved in
the process of formulating policies that have a direct bearing on their
day to day activities.
The institution of Ubukhosi has been in existence from time immemorial
and has survived many hardships under past colonial regimes. From the
point of view of the ordinary citizen, an Inkosi's most important role may
lie in his symbolizing of community solidarity. So any notion that the
institution of Ubukhosi, now that we have a democratic government in
place, can just be wished away, remains a pipe-dream. Some countries just
across our borders had decided to do away with the institution of
traditional leadership immediately after attaining independence from
colonial rulers. However, they have since realised that they had committed
gross mistakes and were now re-inventing these institutions at great
As King of the Zulu Nation I am proud of the role played by the Prime
Minister of the Zulu Nation, Prince of KwaPhindangene, Dr MG Buthelezi who
had singlehandedly championed the cause of the Institution of Traditional
Leadership in this country. Dr Buthelezi had been steadfast in this
crusade for the recognition and respect of the institution of Ubukhosi in
this country. Today traditional leaders throughout South Africa are able
to speak with one voice and are in a much stronger position than they were
about two to three decades ago.
I would like to make this earnest appeal to the State President and the
national government to stop temporizing and address this most important
issue speedily and with great circumspection. The uncertainty about the
role of traditional leaders vis-à-vis municipal structures in the rural
areas is stalling much needed development, and tend to create unnecessary
tension. This situation also has the potential to split the loyalty of the
Mr Speaker, Sir, in opening this session of the KwaZulu-Natal
Parliament I believe that despite the many challenges that we face, the
outlook for the Province is very bright. We have in place an assembly of
talented, experienced and dedicated members of parliament. Our Provincial
Administration has been and continues to be transformed into a more
efficient and financially disciplined operation.
As a nation we must now kneel down and supplicate His Almighty to best
upon us His wisdom so that, as we traverse this route of leading our
people to the World of Promise, Canaan, we do so knowing very well that He
is on our side.
It is now my honour to declare this session of the KwaZulu-Natal
Provincial Legislature officially open.
I thank you.