A group of EFF members have publicly called for their leader to apologise to Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini, but the Zululand Observer reports that Julius Malema continues to refuse to do so.
Earlier this month, IFP leader Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi lambasted Malema for having said the state should take ownership of land under the Ingonyama Trust.
Buthelezi was addressing thousands of his party supporters at the Makhathini Flat in Jozini during an IFP rally on Monday, 2 April.
Buthelezi said Malema sat next to him in parliament but had never raised the issue of the Ingonyama Trust land with him.
“I want to warn you to be careful of parties that campaign on the basis of emotions,” Buthelezi said.
In March, Malema had attacked King Zwelithini for allegedly fanning black-on-black violence with his statements about the expropriation of land without compensation.
Malema, who said he feared nobody, became the first politician to openly criticise the monarch, who last month urged chiefs to fight anyone who attempted to expropriate land controlled by the Ingonyama Trust. The king is the patron of the trust.
Zwelithini said anyone who tried to interfere with the land under his jurisdiction would face the wrath of the Zulus in a war similar to that waged by the Israelis and Palestinians over Jerusalem. He added that Zulus were as attached to their land as Muslims were to Mecca.
The king’s comments, made during the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and later the provincial house of traditional leaders, sparked fears that Zulus could interpret it as a licence to attack those associated with land expropriation.
The king also accused government of failing to arrest foreigners from neighbouring countries who steal vehicles from South Africans to take aross the borders.
Malema warned Zwelithini to desist from threatening violence.
“The Zulu king must stop these threats of violence. We are not scared. I am scared of no one. No amount of violence can scare me because some of us are surprised that we are still alive today,” he said.
The firebrand leader said that if the land under the control of traditional leaders was intended to benefit people, the state could expropriate it and redistribute to the people, even if it was done through vehicles such as the Ingonyama Trust. Land could be owned by the state and then transferred to the trust to benefit the people equitably, he said.
“Let us not talk war, let us not beat the war drum. We love the Zulu king, but we must discuss issues openly even if we disagree with the king.
“We have never promised war on the Zulu king, we have never promised war on the whites, no one is talking war here. We are saying let us have a peaceful engagement,” he said.
Malema said Zwelithini must be aware that any action that pitted blacks against blacks was unacceptable.
“We want every Zulu-speaking person to get a piece of land. If the king wants to give land through the Ingonyama Trust, he must convince the EFF and the government,” Malema said.
Malema also accused the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal of tip-toeing around the issue of land expropriation without compensation, despite the ANC national conference resolving in December to implement the policy.
“They don’t even have respect for their own resolution,” Malema said, referring to statements made by KZN Premier Willies Mchunu during his state of the province address indicating the province did not support the policy.
The EFF leader said this contradicted the ANC conference decision.
Buthelezi last week said: “I have not heard anything from the EFF beyond fiery rhetoric and divisive statements. Mr Julius Malema has even said that traditional land in this province should be taken away from the custodianship of our king and given to the ANC-led national government.
“Malema said this after visiting our king and giving him gifts of cattle,” said Buthelezi.
Buthelezi added that he was struggling to understand how a political leader could be so disrespectful, adding that it was clear the EFF’s intention was to divide South Africans.
“They talk about wanting to tear things down, but that is not what our country needs. We need builders and workers and people of goodwill who are willing to make their contribution.
“We need to heal our country, not tear it apart in the name of so-called economic freedom,” he said.
Now the Zululand Observer reports that, earlier this week, EFF members in KwaZulu-Natal distanced themselves from Malema’s apparent insult to the Zulu monarch.
Concerned EFF members made their statement during a media briefing held on Monday at the Empangeni Library.
The members, Thandizwe Mthembu, Eugene Khumalo, Bheki Shabane and Nhlanhla Biyela, sang in support of King Zwelithini after the media briefing.
“We wish to advise him not to set his foot in this province, unless he humbles himself before His Majesty and apologises unreservedly.”
The paper further reports that Malema and senior EFF leadership have refused to do so.