Showdown for ‘king’ of Amahlubi

2017-01-19 10:56
One of two separate high court interdicts, which came before Judge Pete Koen in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday, was launched by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

One of two separate high court interdicts, which came before Judge Pete Koen in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday, was launched by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube. (File)

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A high court showdown is looming over allegations that a KwaZulu-Natal man, Bryce Mthimkhulu, is falsely representing himself as king of the Amahlubi traditional community in the province.

Two separate high court interdicts came before Judge Pete Koen in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday — one launched by the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube; and the other by Inkosi Muzawenkosi Johannes Radebe of Estcourt, who says he is the only legally appointed and recognised inkosi or “senior traditional leader” of the Ama­hlubi community.

The MEC and Radebe each obtained interim interdicts late last year aimed at preventing Mthimkhulu from “holding himself out” or publishing that he has been appointed king or “traditional leader of any kind whatsoever” of the Amahlubi. This followed announcements by Mthimkhulu that he was planning an annual Amahlubi “gala” event in Eshowe, which had been scheduled to take place on November 25 last year.

The interim interdicts, which Mthimkhulu has indicated he will be opposing, are currently still in place.

The interdict brought by Cogta was yesterday adjourned indefinitely by Judge Koen, and the other application by Radebe was adjourned until Friday, January 27. In his affidavit, Radebe said he was legally appointed as the inkosi of the Amahlubi under the Black Administration Act of 1927 on September 17, 1974.

As such he is the only true representative of the Amahlubi, he said.

Radebe confirms that he also has — and still does — laid claim to the kingship of the Amahlubi community.

He said to that end he took part in the commission on traditional leadership disputes and claims.

The commission rejected his claim to the kingship, while nevertheless recognising him as senior traditional leader.

Radebe said he has launched review proceedings in the Gauteng high court to challenge the commission’s refusal to recognise him as the monarch and those proceedings are currently still pending.

In the meantime he said he remains the only legally appointed senior traditional leader of the Amahlubi community.

Director of legal services for Cogta, Karl-Heinz Kuhn, said in support of the MEC’s application that Mthimkhulu was an “imposter” and said his actions were endangering public peace.

Kuhn said the MEC’s office was still in the process of preparing a comprehensive court action against Mthimkhulu.

He said the only recognised monarch in KZN is King Goodwill Zwelithini and no other monarch is provided for.

Kuhn said that Mthimkhulu has not been recognised by the premier of KZN or South Africa’s president and he was not entitled to represent himself as a king or traditional leader.

Kuhn added that to do so is a “criminal offence” in terms of the relevant laws.

He said Mthimkhulu was representing himself as king of the Amahlubi and the department had been in correspondence with him “for some years” about this.

“The correspondence states unequivocally that he is not a traditional leader and has not been recognised or appointed,” he said.

He said many interested parties, including Radebe, had complained to Cogta that Mthimkhulu was an imposter.

Meetings held with Mthimkhulu concerning the matter were to no avail.

“There is a long history relevant which will be set out in the main application. I am advised that unless the respondent [Mthimkhulu] can produce a recognition or appointment certificate that he will have to concede in law that his representations of himself are false,” he said.

In December 2014, it was reported that Bryce Mthimkhulu, the self-proclaimed amaHlubi King Mthimkhulu III, had launched a cellular service called HlubiMobile to raise money for a court case.

City Press reported that the new service would allow members of his nation to make “free Hlubi-to-Hlubi calls”.

This was reportedly one of many plans he had to bankroll a legal battle he was launching to claim

billions of rands from the British government to compensate for colonial-era destruction of his kingdom.

Mthimkhulu said at the time the claim would be presented to the British High Commission in South Africa.

He added: “We would prefer to settle this amicably, but should there not be agreement, we have assembled a very powerful legal team … to take forward the claim on the basis of international law.”

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