The General Industries Workers’ Union of SA (Giwusa) yesterday called for the abolition of all South African royalty. It follows September’s death of Queen Elizabeth II and Saturday’s coronation of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini – and makes a rare voice of dissent in a country where traditional monarchs are usually presented as untouchable, despite the cost to the taxpayer.

The union noted that the certification ceremony for the monarch cost millions ‘and stands in stark contrast to the horrendous conditions of life suffered by the great majority of Zulu working-class people, in whose name this new king is being coronated’.

The Daily Maverick reports that Giwusa’s stance is an unusual one in a country where questioning the legitimacy of the Zulu monarchy, in particular, is often taken as tantamount to blasphemy.

In August 2022, EFF leader Julius Malema fired verbal warning shots at anyone considering such criticism, telling a media briefing that the Zulu royal family must be ‘jealously protected’ on the grounds that it is ‘one of those black institutions that are still run by black people and led by black people and are run in a dignified manner’.

The union describes it as ‘shocking but not surprising’ that not only the governing ANC but the entire political spectrum of the ruling class supports the granting of public funds to ‘obsolete parasites’ like the Zulu royal family.

It noted that the R67.3m that the royal household received from the KZN government for the 2022/23 financial year will be used in part to ‘maintain and cater for six royal palaces, including a fleet of luxury cars for the royals, payment of royal aides and praise singers, school fees for royal children in the country’s top schools’.

In addition, Misuzulu receives an annual salary of R1.2m from the state.

Full Daily Maverick report