Johannesburg – Rebellion by Zulu fighters at the funeral of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, who forced police to remove President Cyril Ramaphosa from the back door for security reasons, was intended to “embarrass” him and send him warning signs that he was not welcome to KwaZulu-Natal while smoking a peace pipe with former President Jacob Zuma, sources said.
Police this week were forced to cut the wire fence of the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace to make way for the Ramaphosa motorcade after angry Zulu fighters, known as Amabutho, were charged with ousting King Zwelithini’s memorial service in protest against the decision to denied those access to the proceedings for reasons of Covid-19 closure regulations.
This came after hundreds of Amabuthos, armed with traditional weapons, came to the unannounced place and in violation of the blockade rules and tried to enter by force. Some of them were seen clashing with police, threatening them before overpowering them.
Ramaphosa was at the Zulu Royal Palace to read praise for the late King Zwelithini when Amabutho threatened his safety. They reportedly blocked his exit route.
According to media reports, Amabutho had camped outside the gate trying to get inside, but security forces blocked them, in accordance with Covid-19 blocking regulations.
In retaliation, the angry crowd closed the road leading in and out of the palace, saying no one would leave.
When it came time for Ramaphosa and other personalities to leave the palace, Amabutho blocked the SAPS armed battalion from letting it go wrong.
The plan was not to hurt the president, but to embarrass him. “This was a clear message to him that he is not welcome in the province until he has smoked a peace pipe with Zuma and others,” said a source, adding that the incident was a friendly warning to Ramaphosa.
Another source said Amabutho came unannounced and without following Covid-19 regulations to bid farewell to the king.
Amabutho came unannounced and had concerns about violations of the Covid-19 protocols and security measures that needed to be considered. Amabutho came illegally and did not apply like everyone else. The president had to be removed quickly as Amabutho was also breaking Covid-19 regulations, the source said.
A source with intimate knowledge of security plans for the memorial service blamed Police Minister Bheki Cele, saying police failed to heed negative feelings against Ramaphosa among many KwaZulu-Natal residents.
Cele, as police minister, had to plan an alternative exit route for the president and other personalities as he knew very well that Ramaphosa is persona non grata in some parts of Kwazulu-Natal.
Ramaphosa spokesman Tyrone Seale declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the president’s ouster. Instead, he referred to all SAPS investigations, saying security issues are a police issue.
Yesterday Cele denied that the Army threatened Ramaphosa and blocked his entourage from leaving the KwaKhethomthandayo Palace.
“There was no convoy of the president who was forced to make a quick escape. He came with an unmarked black BMW and he walked to and from the place where he landed by his defenders without any threat from Amabutho,” Cele said.
“I was there and I saw everything. The problem started when the president had left the scene, most of the cars that were parked inside wanted to get out and the gates opened. By that time, the president had already left the scene, and some from Amabutho, who were shouting outside, entered while the gates were opened. “
Cele also denied that the president’s life had been put in danger, saying such reports were “fake news”.
“People always post mischievous videos on social media with deceptive content, this is one of the fights we have with fake news paddlers,” Cele added.
Zulu royal family spokesman Prince Thulani Zulu declined to answer questions about Amabutho’s behavior and allegations that they threatened Ramaphosa’s safety.
“We are still mourning the death of our king and can not concentrate or comment on anything that is happening outside the world of mourning for now,” he said.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s spokeswoman Lwazi Manzi addressed questions about the Covid-19 rule violation to the Department of Collaborative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), who are the custodians of the Disaster Management Act regulations and also of traditional issues “.
Cogta spokesman Lungi Mtshali said he was at a funeral. He promised to answer but failed to do so.
Government expert and political analyst Sandile Swana said the incident said a lot about the relationship between the Zulu monarchy and elected KwaZulu-Natal politicians.
But that means something to the elected politicians in the CIS. The king wanted all of them to kneel before him, and so that they would understand how ordinary people if elected as president, you come and kneel before the king, which means that even politics does not supervise them and their permanent authority , their control of land and population.
Those Amabuthos were locked up because they wanted things to be done on their own terms. I’m not sure but I think someone tried to introduce a form of security which was not the solution. That was when they rebelled and took over and imprisoned the president.
This is a reminder that when dealing with amaZulu at CZN you can not ignore that they have physical strength. They can even abuse the state. “It’s like a no-go zone, but you have to understand that when you come to the CFO with your physical strength it can be worse.”
Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana said he could not “speculate” on the implications of the incident on Ramaphosa’s political position.