'Don't speak ill of the dead': Malema slams 'cowards' criticising Zulu king

16 March 2021 - 18:47
By TimesLIVE
EFF leader Julius Malema at the royal palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday
Image: EFF EFF leader Julius Malema at the royal palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday

EFF leader Julius Malema has hit out at “cowards” who were critical of the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, after his death.

Malema was speaking at a media briefing in Nongoma on Tuesday, where he and a contingent of EFF leaders paid their respects to the Zulu royal family at the royal palace after the passing of Isilo SamaBandla, King Goodwill Zwelithini, on Friday. Malema said the king’s death was a “huge blow”.

“We had a huge debate with the majesty about the land. We had a very interesting engagement on issues of the land. We have always emphasised as the EFF that the custodians of the land are the kings and the chiefs and we need to work with them to make sure we redistribute the land and give to our people, not only males but also females.

“His majesty cherished and accepted that we have moved into an era that we can no longer be men and women, we have to be one nation.”

In response to a question about criticism over the king’s legacy and handling of a number of issues, including the land, Malema was unequivocal about those who were disrespectful about the dead.

“The king was not money. He won’t be loved by everybody. As a human being, we expect people to have different views but in the African culture, it is bad to speak bad about the dead. If we don’t like you keep quiet. When death visits you, and when we do the same to you, we will be labelled as insensitive.

“Let us look at what is good about the work the king did in this area and all over. We only learn the good from the dead and deliberately ignore the bad because they are not here to answer for themselves.

“Most of these peacetime heroes, they speak very bad now [of the king], something they couldn’t do when the king was still alive. So we really have no time for cowards. If they had something to say, they should have said it to him on his face. Now he can’t answer for himself.”