King Zwelithini will be honoured with a special official state funeral President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday.

Ramphosa’s acting spokesperson Tyrone Seale said in a statement that the Special Official Funeral Category 1 for King Goodwill Zwelithini would include ceremonial elements provided by the South African National Defence Force.

King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu died in the early hours of Friday 12 March, after an extended illness.

He said the president had also authorised that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country from the morning of Saturday, 13 March 2021, until the evening of the funeral service. In terms of Chapter 1.5.2(a) of the State, Official and Provincial Funeral Policy Manual, the President may designate the funeral of a distinguished person as a Special Official Funeral.

Addressing journalists in a special media briefing, KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, declared the coming week as a week of mourning.

“All government and private functions must be suspended. On Thursday 18 March we call for a prayer service throughout the province to pray for the Zulu nation following the passing of His Majesty,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala said the government would appoint an inter-ministerial committee that will work with the Royal House in preparation for all the activities leading to the burial or Ukutshalwa kweSilo.

“The Office of the Premier guided by the Royal Family and the Presidency work and prepare logistics for the sending off of His Majesty. The Provincial Government will support and ensure adherence to all level one regulations and Covid-19 health protocols,” he said.

Zikalala said the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini would be remembered as a loadstar and unifying forces across the country’s political and racial barriers.

“We have lost the father and pillar of our nation who placed himself forward as our unique torch-bearer during some of the darkest times that this country has ever seen,” Zikalala said.

“We have entered the period of profound sadness in the history of KwaZulu-Natal and indeed that of the country. His Majesty made history as the longest serving among Kings of the Zulu Nation, but also presided over this nation during some of the most tumultuous and difficult periods in our history,” he said.

“His Majesty played a key role in the consolidation of post-apartheid South Africa into a democracy which recognised the diversity of our country and will be remembered for his role as an apolitical, non-partisan and uniting Monarch above the different political parties which contest political power,” Zikalala said.

“His majesty the King occupied the Zulu throne during a very difficult period in the politics of KwaZulu-Natal, when violent conflict among his subjects resulted in the death of thousands of people. He was integral to the peace efforts that saw the ANC and the IFP put aside their differences to work together to bring about a better life for all the people of KwaZulu-Natal.,” he said.

“The subsequent mutual respect for the institution of Zulu monarchy was a direct result of his approach to embrace all, irrespective of party affiliation.”

He said the sheer force of the King’s fall had “reverberated across the globe, causing earth tremors far and wide. “

“This is evidenced by the outpouring of grief and messages of sympathy that have been received from embassies and nations across the world,” he said.

Zikalala said the Provincial Executive Council would visit the Royal Family tomorrow to offer its condolences.

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Presh JM Reporter

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