Traditional Prime Minister to the Zulu monarch, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, says the body of Amazulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, is expected to lie in state at the Royal Palace this afternoon.
The public will be allowed to pay their respects.
Zwelithini passed away this morning at the age of 72. He was in hospital for more than a month for diabetes treatment.
Speaking in a media briefing, Buthelezi urged people to observe COVID-19 health protocols as proceedings continue.
“The arrangements for the funeral will be announced, but for now the King’s body will be conveyed to the palace, hopefully this afternoon, where he will lie in state for a couple of days,” says Buthelezi.
The Zulu monarch Prime Minister has also confirmed that the King passed away of COVID-19 complications.
Buthelezi has said in an interview that the King contracted COVID-19 in hospital.
“I would like to emphasise that we should not forget that we lost the King during the hard time of the pandemic. Although he was admitted to hospital for other illness. He also got infected with this infection. His wife as well – MaNdlovu – got infected while she was looking after Isilo. Although we are sad, we should follow all the protocols to protect the lives of people, as we know that Isilo would not like other people to also get infected,” he says.
SABC News reporter Vusi Khumalo elaborates on this:
Mourners have started trickling in at the Osuthu palace of the AmaZulu royal household at Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal to pay their respects.
Amakhosi, izinduna are among the locals gathered at the palace.
Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed sadness over the passing of AmaZulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. The King was the longest-reigning monarch of the Zulu nation.
Announcement on the passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu:
In a statement, Ramaphosa has offered his sympathies and prayers to the Royal Family, to the Zulu nation, and to the people of KwaZulu-Natal and beyond for whom the Ingonyama was an important symbol of history, culture and heritage.
He adds that the AmaZulu King will be remembered as a much-loved, visionary monarch who made an important contribution to cultural identity, national unity and economic development in KwaZulu-Natal and the country as a whole.