Zwelithini confessed what rational people already knew: South Africa was better governed under the apartheid system.
According to Zwelithini, The National Party 'had built a powerful government with the strongest economy and army on the continent.'
He then blamed “this so-called democracy” that allowed black South Africans to destroy the gains of the past.
Zwelithini is the reigning King of the Zulu nation under the Traditional Leadership clause of South Africa's republican constitution.
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The king said history would judge black people harshly as they had failed to build on the successes of the Afrikaner regime.
The king was speaking at his kwaKhethomthandayo royal palace in Nongoma on Saturday night during a celebration of his 44 years on the throne.
He said black people “loved to use matches” to burn down infrastructure built during apartheid.
Delivering a speech which ended just after midnight, the king told hundreds of people packed into a big marquee that he felt lucky that he was born the same year the National Party came to power in 1948.
The king’s speech came in the wake of a series of anti-government statements made by the monarch of the Zulu nation in recent months. In September, King Zwelithini ordered that there should be no government banners at royal events, and that the government should stop organising the events.
He said on Saturday that this was the first time his anniversary celebrations had been organised by the King Zwelithini Foundation.
The king said the apartheid regime had built a mighty army. He said the South African currency and economy “surprisingly shot up” under the National Party regime.
“The economy that we are now burning down. You do not want to build on what you had inherited. You are going to find yourselves on the wrong side of history.”
He said while people on the ground did not appreciate the infrastructure inherited from apartheid, democratically elected presidents – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – were occupying apartheid infrastructure, including the Union Buildings and Parliament.
“I am surprised that all presidents who have been in the so-called democracy occupied apartheid buildings where they make all these laws that are oppressing us.
“But you on the ground are burning everything that you found here.
“You don’t want to use them (buildings), you say this is apartheid infrastructure. Your leaders are occupying buildings where apartheid laws were made to oppress you,” the king said.
Despite the National Party’s having created anti-black laws, he was happy that it had treated him with respect.
“The Afrikaners respected me. I don’t know how it happened that the Afrikaners respect me so much.”
He said at the kwaKhethomthandayo palace there were still medals which the apartheid government had awarded to his kingdom.
The king also touched on the South African Human Rights Commission which released its preliminary report last week on his alleged involvement in xenophobic attacks early this year.
The commission had recommended that he make a public apology or risk being taken to the Equality Court.
Early this year it was reported that the king called on foreigners to pack up and go back to their home countries.
He said he would address the Zulu nation in January on the outcomes of the report, which he said were an insult to the nation.
The king’s traditional prime minister, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, told The Mercury that the report had exonerated the king, but he said the commission should explain why it had called on the king to issue a public apology.
“I am pleased that they exonerated him, but I am confused that they still insist that he must apologise. There seems to be a contradiction.”
Political analyst Protas Madlala said the king was playing on the theory that white people could govern better.
“He is right, but he should explain deeper the reason behind their success,”said Madlala.
Apartheid had been supported internationally, he said.
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