President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to King Goodwill Zwelithini, the eighth Zulu king, who died today at 72.
The long reigning monarch died after being hospitalised for more than a month, his family announced on Friday.
Local news report said the king had health problems related to diabetes.
In a tribute, Ramaphosa praised Zwelithini for his contribution to the Zulu nation’s economic and cultural development.
“His Majesty 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 through this, to the development of our country as a whole,” Mr. Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Opposition politicians also expressed their condolences to the Zulu nation.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, the Royal House and the Zulu nation in this time of loss. May you find comfort and strength as you mourn and celebrate his full life,” John Steenhuisen, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, said.
Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement also expressed his sadness at Zwelithini’s passing.
“As the custodian of Zulu tradition and customs, he specifically played a critical role in the Zulu nation during the height of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa,” said Mr. Holomisa.