AbaThembu king boycotts memorial service

2013-12-14 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo yesterday boycotted the memorial service for Nelson Mandela at his birthplace in Mvezo, outside Mthatha.

This amidst reports that ministers were sent to persuade him to attend the funeral tomorrow.

Apparently the king has indicated that he may not attend the funeral if President Jacob Zuma was to personally pay the last respects to Madiba.

Dalindyebo has recently been critical of Zuma and also resigned from the ANC, which he accused of corruption, to join the DA a few months ago.

At yesterday’s memorial service organised for traditional leaders, apologies were made for traditional leaders who are representatives in the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) because they were holding an end-of-year closing session. No apologies were made for Dalindyebo.

Instead, when it was his turn to speak, the programme director announced that the king would address the throngs of mourners and after a song by the choir, he was nowhere to be found.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli and ANC national leaders such as Gwede Mantashe, Tony Yengeni, Fikile Xasa and NUM president Senzeni Zokwana were at the memorial.

AbaThembu royal family spokesperson Dalundumo said he was not aware of why Dalindyebo did not attend the memorial service.

Another AbaThembu senior leader, Thanduxolo Mtirara, also said he too was in the dark about why Dalindyebo did not come.

“Maybe he will come to the family meeting in Qunu and explain his actions,” he said.

Mtirara said the absence of Dalin­dyebo did not come as a surprise and it was possible that he may skip the funeral as well.

“It was expected of him. There is nothing that can stop him,” he said.

Dalindyebo had not attended the funerals of his mother, younger brother and one of his wives in the last three years.

Dalindyebo had boycotted the funeral of his mother and wife after making certain demands on the procedure of the royal funerals.

At yesterday’s memorial service, Mandela, as chief by birth, was hailed as a father of the nation who had great respect for traditional leadership.

Tsenoli said Mandela had joined the ANC after he was well prepared by the royal family for leadership.

He credited Mandela for ensuring the traditional leadership institution was considered during the negotiation and included in the country’s Constitution.

Mantashe said the ANC was grateful to the Mandelas for giving them a son to be their leader.

He said the ANC will remain close to the family even after his death.

He also said the party was not mourning Madiba but celebrating the life of a great man.

Mantashe said Mandela had not been a tribal and regional leader but a leader of the nation.

He added that he had been taken to the Union Buildings over the past three days to the seat of government to be viewed because that was where he was sworn in as the first president of the country.

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