AbaThembu kingship battle rages on

2017-09-24 06:05
Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo

Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo

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The battle for kingship between Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo – the son of jailed abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo – and his uncle, Prince Mthandeni, continued in the Eastern Cape High Court this week, with the latter accusing the court’s Acting Judge President Zamani Nhlangulela of unfair interference in the case.

Mthandeni’s lawyers claimed Nhlangulela had “unilaterally” postponed the hearing in the case, initiated by them, which was meant to challenge Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle over his recognition of Azenathi as acting king of the nation, instead of Mthandeni.

Mthandeni is the younger brother of King Dalindyebo, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for seven counts of kidnapping, three of assault, three of arson and for defeating the ends of justice.

The matter was scheduled to be heard at the Grahamstown High Court on October 12, before a judge from outside the province.

This after Mthandeni and his legal team proposed that an outside judge be appointed because Azenathi’s mother, Buyiswa Nocollege Majiki, was a high court judge in Mthatha and some of her colleagues were reluctant to hear the case.

Nhlangulela previously worked at Mthatha High Court with Majiki before taking up the post of acting judge president of the Eastern Cape division.

Vincent Mgangatho, the lawyer representing Prince Mthandeni, has since written a letter to Nhlangulela, asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the matter.

In the letter, which City Press has seen, Mgangatho argued that all counsel in the matter had been briefed and heads of argument were to be submitted a week before the hearing of the application, in terms of the rules of this division.

“Therefore, we strongly object to the unilateral view taken by the acting judge president in this matter and urgently call for a meeting to resolve this matter,” he wrote.

Mgangatho said it was also not in the interests of justice for the application to be pending for more than eight months.

The court still has about a month to find a neutral judge.

Mgangatho urged the judge to communicate his decision in writing to all parties.

“There is no doubt, should the view that the matter does not proceed on the set date, [that] such view is clearly indicative of interference in the matter,” he wrote.

Nkosi Thanduxolo Mtirara, chairperson of the Ngangelizwe royal family of abaThembu, who support Mthandeni to act as king in the place of his older brother, said they were shocked by the judge’s decision.

He said the reason they took the matter to the Grahamstown High Court in the first place was they feared that the judges working with Majiki at Mthatha High Court could be conflicted.

“We did not know that we could face the same problems in Grahamstown as those we were trying to avoid in Mthatha,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Masualle paid homage to Azenathi at his home at Bumbane Great Place, near Mthatha. The premier, who was accompanied by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Fikile Xasa, laid wreaths at the grave of Azenathi’s grandfather, Sabata Dalindyebo. He then presented the acting king with two bull cattle.

This was the first visit by the premier to the Great Place since he officially recognised Azenathi as acting king earlier this year.

Masualle, who next week will face off against one-time ally Oscar Mabuyane for the position of ANC provincial chair, received prayers from the abaThembu – on the insistence of Azenathi – for the political “road ahead”.

The premier’s visit was part of his Heritage Month programme.

Masualle said his visit to the palace was long overdue and that he was there to also find out if there were any issues that the king and his subjects needed help with.

“Today, we are a government because of this family of Dalindyebo. Therefore, the government cannot be too far from this family. We are grateful to them,” he said.

Azenathi replied: “We have three kings from the Dalindyebo house who dedicated their lives to the ANC, which is why we are happy to see you here. It shows that you have not forgotten the house of Dalindyebo.”

Read more on:    abathembu

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