Durban – King Goodwill Zwelithini praised the apartheid era during an event in Nongoma at the weekend.
The National Party, he said, had built a powerful government with the strongest economy and army on the continent, but then came “this so-called democracy” in which black people started destroying the gains of the past.
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.”