'Fire Mandla Mandela'

2013-07-07 14:00

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AbaThembu king wants Mandla deposed as chief of Mvezo; royals want king dethroned

Mandla Mandela is about to lose his chieftaincy if abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has his way.

After a week of setbacks for former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandchild, Dalindyebo, who appointed him as chief of Mvezo, has accused Mandla of using his family’s graves as a “dancing floor”.

Dalindyebo, who recently announced he would be joining the DA, said he was planning to write a letter to Mandla informing him that he was no longer allowed to take any responsibility on issues concerning the Madiba clan.

In an interview with City Press after Mandla’s explosive press conference on Thursday, the king said he had given the Mandelas the chieftaincy to honour Nelson Mandela, not Mandla.

But Mandla has hit back, saying the king should worry about problems facing his own royal house and leave the Madiba clan alone.

“I don’t want to waste my time with people who obviously don’t understand issues because they are uneducated. He was given a chance to go to school, but wasted it,” said Mandla.

He maintained that he was the heir of the Madibas and that he had been groomed by his grandfather to take up the role.

The king’s decision to dethrone Mandla was based on his actions over the past two weeks. The Mthatha High Court this week ruled against Mandla’s attempts to keep the remains of his father, Makgatho, and his father’s siblings in Mvezo.

Their remains were reburied in Qunu on Thursday.

Dalindyebo told City Press he was hesitant to engage in such drastic steps against Mandla while the former president was in poor health, but his hand was forced by Mandla’s behaviour in the reburial saga.

“We need to take a precautious position that is firm in terms of isolating Mandla from the Madiba clan as a legitimate role player of any kind. This is one of the immediate steps I am going to take,” the king said.

“I will write to him and tell him that my wish is that he is not involved in any of the affairs of the amaDlomo (the Thembu royal family) at large,” King Dalindyebo said, adding: “What kind of a person uses graves as a dancing floor?”

King Dalindyebo, on behalf of the abaThembu, apologised to South Africa and the world for this week’s ructions in the Mandela family, saying it was unfortunate.

The king previously said Mandla’s brother, Ndaba, was the legitimate Mandela heir and should be chief.

“Mandla has never been the legitimate heir of the Madiba family, but at some point we thought he is, without knowing the details about the status of his mother,” Dalindyebo told City Press.

“Only after some events, these things were revealed to us,” he said, in reference to reports that Mandla’s mother, Nolusapho, was not married to Mandla’s father.

But on Thursday, Mandla lashed out at Ndaba, who had also claimed Mandla was born out of wedlock.

“I want to remind him (Ndaba) that I do not want to hang our dirty linen as a family in public, but he leaves me with no choice. He knows very well that my father impregnated a married woman and he is the result of that act,” Mandla hit back.

Zingisa Bokwe, the secretary of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, said the royal family had the right to recommend the removal of a chief to the provincial local government MEC.

The royal family should state the reasons for its decision, which often involves the bad treatment of residents or insanity. The MEC investigates the charges before he concurs or turns down the request, in line with the Eastern Cape Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act.

“The king can’t do so on his own and the king can’t just choose who should succeed the chief,” said Bokwe.

At the same time, Dalindyebo’s position was under threat. The abaThembu royal family wrote to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi a few months ago, expressing their unhappiness with his running of the kingdom.

Some members also want the king dethroned. He is facing criminal conviction and 15-year prison sentence for culpable homicide, kidnapping, arson and assault, which he is currently appealing.

Traditional Affairs director-general Charles Nwaila said Baloyi had held several meetings with the concerned family members and the king to come up with a solution.

Eastern Cape local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane said all the documents at his disposal confirmed Mandla as the chief of Mvezo and the neighbouring villages.

He said the royal family had not given him any notice to remove the chief, but said he would consider it if they were to do so.

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