Statement by the Hon. Mr VF Hlabisa MPL, President of the IFP and Leader of the Official Opposition, in KwaZulu-Natal:
The nation awoke this morning to the devastating news of the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, the King of the Zulu Nation. This comes as a terrible blow to His Majesty's people and to the people of South Africa. On behalf of the IFP, I can only express my deepest condolences.
Our prayers are with the Royal Family in this difficult time. We pray particularly for Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and Nation, who has borne the dreadful burden of informing the nation. We extend our support as he goes to assist Her Majesty Queen Thandekile and the Royal Family.
The loss of His Majesty the King will be mourned in millions of homes, for he led his people with dignity, wisdom and compassion. He was the longest serving monarch of the Zulu nation, having reigned for almost fifty years. He led the Zulu nation through the dark era of apartheid and, after we achieved democracy, remained a champion of the ongoing struggle for full liberation from the bonds of social and economic injustice.
His Majesty led by example as he called on the nation to return to subsistence farming, to produce food and invest in agriculture. He emphasised the importance of cultural values and preserved the traditions of the Zulu Nation. Under his leadership, every family in the Zulu Kingdom enjoyed the security of being able to access enough land on which to live and raise a family.
These accolades and many more speak of a national leader who served South Africa with distinction. May our country and the nation be comforted in the knowledge that His Majesty's legacy will continue. We honour that legacy as we grieve this terrible loss.