Celebrations at King Goodwill Zwelithini's palace spark debate

18 March 2021 - 11:12 By unathi nkanjeni
The funeral procession of King Goodwill Zwelithini makes its way to his ancestral home and final resting place at KwaNongoma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The funeral procession of King Goodwill Zwelithini makes its way to his ancestral home and final resting place at KwaNongoma, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A gathering ahead of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini's burial has sparked a debate on social media, with many criticising the flouting of Covid-19 regulations.

On Wednesday, a large number of warriors and maidens came together to celebrate the king's life in the streets around KwaKhethomthandayo royal palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.

Scores of mourners made their way to the palace to pay their respects to the royal family.

While some were seen wearing face masks, many were not and there was no social distancing.

Under level 1 lockdown, wearing face masks in public places is mandatory and the failure to do so results in an offence.

Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are not permitted. The maximum number of people allowed at any gathering is 100 people indoors or 250 people outdoors.

Speaking on eNCA, health minister Zweli Mkhize said everyone “tried their best” to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations.

“Everyone here, from the royal house to the government, everyone is trying their best to manage the situation,” Mkhize said.

“The most difficult part was the fact [that the ceremony] was not an organised event where people are invited. People just rocked up at the royal palace,” he added.

However, on social media, many users criticised the flouting of lockdown regulations

Coming to the government's defence, transport minister Fikile Mbalula described it as a “difficult” situation.

“The king is the king, people are bound to react differently. We've lost ministers — none can be compared to the king's departure. We will not get it 100% under control, it's a difficult situation,” Mbalula tweeted.

He said trying to disperse the gathering would have caused chaos.

“Let's just accept it won't be forever like this. By Friday all things will be in order,” said Mbalula.

Here is a snapshot of what people had to say about the situation:

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