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So, President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward thinks Max du Preez is a liability to South Africa, and should pack his bags and leave. Why? Because Du Preez has added his voice to the wide condemnation of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s remarks about the spate of xenophobic attacks in this country. Zuma junior’s remarks and description of Du Preez as a ‘bitter, old, white man’ are not just juvenile; they reek of incendiary racism. That can only add dangerous fuel to the xenophobic fires. Instead of Zuma junior insisting that Du Preez apologise to the Zulu king and country, Zuma senior should just give his son a slap on the wrist, and tell him to respect his elders, Du Preez among them. – Marika Sboros
By Amanda Khoza
News24, Durban – President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward Zuma, has told News24 columnist Max du Preez where to get off after he wrote a scathing column on Tuesday criticising King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Zuma went as far as calling him a “bitter old man” whom the country can’t afford to have around.
Zuma said Du Preez’s sentiments on King Goodwill Zwelithini were “disrespectful not only to him [as the king] but to the Zulu nation as well”.
He called on Du Preez to apologise to the Zulu king.
“He is disrespecting the Zulu king and our culture,” charged Zuma.
On Tuesday, News24 published a column written by Du Preez, titled Zwelithini should face the consequences, in which he lambasted King Good Zwelithini and said that “it was high time the king was put in his place.”
“South Africans should not simply sweep Zwelithini’s reckless statements on foreign nationals, the most obvious trigger of the latest wave of xenophobic attacks, under the carpet. Any influential public figure guilty of such provocative, irresponsible utterances should be forced to face the consequences of his actions,” Du Preez said in his column.
Du Preez said Zwelithini was treated very differently from other kings.
“It is high time the king of the Zulu is put in his place. He is not above the law or the Constitution. He behaves as if he is the South African equivalent of Swaziland’s Mswati III,” he wrote.
Du Preez’s comments have clearly angered Zuma junior.
“Does he share the same sentiments about Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II?” Zuma asked.
“He would never belittle her the way he did with King Goodwill Zwelithini, so he must stop belittling the Zulu nation and African customs. Polygamy is something that we have practised for many years and we are happy with it.
“He [in his column] belittled our Zulu culture. He is basically telling us, particularly the Zulu nation, to get a life and that we have become too Westernised.”
“Max does not have traditional leaders and he needs to be reminded where he comes as an individual. King Goodwill Zwelithini is the king of the Zulus. If you are a Zulu, whether you are in Europe or in America, he is your king and if Max has a problem with that then he must pack himself and throw himself away and maybe then will he find himself.”
Zuma said Du Preez owed the king an apology.
“Our king is not living on crumbs; he is here because we support him. Who puts Queen Elizabeth II in her place?
“Where does he get off telling us how to follow our culture?”
He admitted that the Zulu nation had made mistakes in the past but said, “these [mistakes] are not for Du Preez to “have breakfast over”.
“What our king said [during the moral regeneration event in Pongola last month] is correct. Du Preez needs to be put in his place because he has taken democracy and his freedom of expression too far. He can’t talk about our king, especially as an elder to us, like that.”
Zuma said if Du Preez has a problem with the current administration then he must come out and say it.
“He needs to come out and be a man about it. He must come to us and we will address the issues. He’s had a problem ever since certain people took over the country. He must stop being a hypocrite. In 1994 he was singing a different tune and in 2015 he is saying all of these things.
“He is busy trying to be an academic and analyst but the bottom line is that we know that he hates the ANC, we all know that. And we will forever love the ANC.”
‘Bitter, old man’
Zuma said Du Preez’s comments sometimes reek of racism.
“His comments have a tendency to create social divides. He is a bitter old, white man who does not want to accept that South Africa is in a transitional phase. He must either accept that or hit the ceiling. We [the country] can’t be harnessing people like him anymore,” said Zuma.
The Zulu monarchy has recently been marred with family controversy.
The Zulu king and his six wives have been reportedly living in the lap of luxury despite the Zulu Royal Household being cash strapped.
The Sunday Tribune reported earlier this month that the Zulu monarch was set to receive six new Mercedes Benz E-Class sedans, collectively worth nearly R5m, for the King’s six wives.
The king’s household is financed by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and has an annual budget of nearly R60m.
The Sunday Times reported the mismanagement of funds by the Zulu Royal Household Trust in 2014 when an alleged R54.2m was spent before the end of the financial year. The Royal Household reportedly asked for a government bailout of about R10m in February.
It was also reported that at some stage the king was too broke to buy groceries, a claim that the Royal Household later denied.
After much controversy, the Office of the Premier, Senzo Mchunu, has since taken over the financing and managing of the Zulu Royal Household.
News24 has notified Du Preez of Zuma’s statements. He will respond later on Friday.