As AbaThembu meet, who is next in line to the throne?

2014-08-03 06:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The AbaThembu nation will meet today to discuss the fate of its king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

All the people of Thembuland – including those based in KwaZulu-Natal and in neighbouring countries – have been summoned to the great place at Nkululekweni in Mthatha.

There is no reliable figure for the number of people in the AbaThembu nation, but there are an estimated 500 000 in Mthatha alone.

President Jacob Zuma wrote to Dalindyebo last week demanding he provide representation within 30 days to explain why the president should not withdraw the certificate that recognises him as king of the AbaThembu.

Most of the people expected at today’s meeting support the king, but behind the scenes discussion is raging about who will take over the throne should Zuma remove him.

Among the names being bandied around is that of the king’s younger brother, Prince Jongisizwe Dalindyebo, who is part of the group that wrote to Zuma in 2012 calling for the monarch’s removal.

He is seen as the most legitimate successor because he comes from the same senior house as the king, with whom he shares both father and mother.

Jongisizwe and Buyelekhaya have been long estranged.

Jongisizwe has refused to comment on any regal aspirations. But the part of the royal family that wants Dalindyebo dethroned wants Jongisizwe for the position.

Royal family spokesperson Daludumo Mtirara patted Jongisizwe on the shoulder during a press conference on Thursday and said he could learn a great deal from his older brother’s mistakes.

The other name mentioned is the king’s son, Azanathi Dalindyebo (22), born from Dalindyebo’s marriage to his first wife. Despite being the king’s first male child, Azanathi’s chances could be scuppered because his mother is not the royal wife, chosen by the royal family.

Dalindyebo has five wives and infamously told the royal family in 2012 that if they chose a wife for him they should be prepared to sleep with her themselves.

Azanathi could not be reached for comment.

The third could-be king is Mfundo Mtirara. The group opposing Dalindyebo have accused Mtirara, who speaks on the king’s behalf, of only pretending to support the monach and harbouring ambitions of his own.

A senior chief, he is also from the royal family.

But Mtirara said he did not want to comment on gossip.

“All I know is that king Zwelibanzi [Buyelekhaya] is the king of AbaThembu and its leader. I will stand by king Zwelibanzi with or without the certificate of recognition … he is a king because he was born. Whether government recognise him or not, he is a king because he is head of our family.”

How the royal rules work

This is how the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act lays out the process for choosing a monarch:

Whenever the position of a king or a queen is to be filled, the royal family must, within a reasonable time after the need arises, and with due regard to applicable customary law –

»Identify a person who qualifies in terms of customary law to assume the position of a king or a queen, as the case may be;

»Inform the president of the country, the premier of the province concerned and the minister (of cooperative governance and traditional affairs) of the particulars of the person so identified to fill the position of a king or a queen;

»Provide the president with the reasons for the identification of that person as a king or a queen; and

»Give written confirmation to the president that the premier of the province concerned and the minister have been informed accordingly.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.