The Congress of South African Trade Unions joins millions of people in South Africa to mourn the death of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and the Zulu nation.
King Zwelithini was a formidable leader of South Africa and the Zulu nation, who contributed immensely in facilitating peace and in shaping the South African democratic dispensation.
He will be remembered for his visionary leadership. He played a crucial role in the fight against HIV and Aids by taking a historic decision to revive the practice of circumcision among young Zulu men as part of the national campaign to reduce the spread of HIV-Aids.
His decision contributed substantially to the reduction of HIV infections, especially in KwaZulu-Natal which had the highest incidence in the country.
The king was prepared to end nearly two centuries of tradition in the interest of saving lives and was practical and prudent enough to ensure the practice of circumcision among Zulus is done by medical practitioners to avoid unnecessary deaths.
Studies found that men who have been circumcised are up to 60 percent less likely to become infected with HIV.
He was also a listening and accountable leader who respected the Constitution and the institutions of democracy. He publicly acted to rectify the unfortunate impression created of him during the Xenophobic attacks in KZN ,and went on to rally his people to embrace peace and African unity.
His untimely death has created a vacuum in the country at a time when the nation is crying for leadership.
He will always be remembered as a proud African King who dedicated his life to preserving the indigenous African knowledge and uniting the Zulu people.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794