King Goodwill Zwelithini has slammed the teaching of sex education in schools, saying it is not a cultural norm and required more consultation from parents and other stakeholders.
“Schools will now be able to teach our children about sexual intercourse without consulting our parents. I have seen this content first-hand and I am not pleased.
“God is not in this and our culture does not allow it,” he said at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.
Zwelithini added proposals to teach schoolchildren about sex was not inclusive enough.
In 2019, it was announced that the pilot of the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programme would be tested in selected schools that have recorded high HIV infection rates and sexual abuse.
The government’s lesson plans previously came under fire from critics and parents who argued they were overtly sexual and inappropriate for the classroom.
“Outside of being a parent to many children, and as a custodian of our culture, I am surprised that my grandchildren, some of whom still attend the annual reed dance, are being taught about sex in schools,” Zwelithini said.
“We have not heard a word from those who have decided they know and understand our children better than us. Do you mean we are now below being consulted about issues regarding our own children?”
There were also cultural standards when it came to sex, he added.
“Culturally, there are obligations and practices that go hand in hand with the practising of sexual intercourse. We know that democracy is meant to be a system where we consult each other as people. We are all equal.”
Zwelithini questioned why he was not consulted before comprehensive sex education was discussed.
“What is it that has made [the education department] disregard the chieftaincy and parents. Parents who are people that are knowledgeable about their own children.”
During a brief address, Premier Sihle Zikalala said the KwaZulu-Natal government was committed to working with the royal household.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said consultation should be done with parents, religious sectors, traditional institutions and all key stakeholders.
“If you did not do consultation on an intervention you are introducing, it might meet resistance no matter how good it is. You must consult first.”