Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has announced that the body of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini will lie in state at Khethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal to allow the public to pay their respects.
“For now, the king’s body will be conveyed to the palace, hopefully, this afternoon, where he will lie in state for a couple of days so that anyone in the nation can do so [ pay their respects],” Buthelezi said, speaking at a media briefing in Durban.
Buthelezi is the traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu Monarch and nation.
He said Covid-19 health and safety protocols will be observed at all times by mourners.
“This happened at the most difficult time because of Covid-19 and we should observe all the protocols. I know all our people are devastated as much as the royal family is, but nevertheless one must remind the nation to observe the protocols because we really don’t want the death of His Majesty to result in the death of someone else,” he said.
Buthelezi said in a statement earlier King Zwelithini’s health had taken a turn for the worse since his admission to hospital.
“Tragically, while still in hospital, His Majesty’s health took a turn for the worse and he subsequently passed away in the early hours of this morning.”
Buthelezi thanked South Africans for their messages of condolences and well wishes to the royal family.
He said the family appreciated condolences sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who described King Zwelithini as an important symbol of history, culture and heritage in the country.
“His Majesty will be remembered as a much-loved, visionary monarch who made an important contribution to cultural identity, national unity and economic development in KwaZulu-Natal and through this, to the development of our country as a whole,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile have also conveyed their condolences to the royal family.
“On behalf of the royal family, we thank the nation for continued prayers and support in this most difficult time,” Buthelezi said.
He added that the arrangements for the king’s funeral would be announced in due course.