Chief Nkosi Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of suspended spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa, Khuselo Diko, died in an East London hospital on Sunday night.
Diko, who became famous after being embroiled in a tender corruption scandal with the Gauteng health department over the procurement of personal protective equipment was reportedly being treated for pancreatitis-related complications.
“I can confirm with great sadness the untimely passing away of our king. He passed away in a hospital in East London on Sunday afternoon following a short illness. At this stage the family is still trying to establish the cause of death and arrangements for the funeral will be communicated at a later stage,” said Lumko Mtimde, the spokesperson for the kingdom and the family.
Nkosi Zolile Bhekuhlanga Makaula, a senior traditional leader in KwaBhaca and a close family royal member, said Diko died a few days after Nkosi Badibanise Diko, 72, whom he succeeded as chief. Nkosi Badibanise, Diko’s great grandfather, died on Friday, also after a short illness. Badibanise will be buried on Sunday.
Makaula said this was a big blow for AmaBhaca as they have lost two senior traditional leaders, dying only days apart.
“We are really shocked as we did not expect this especially because he was still a young man. I mean he was born in 1979 and we thought he was still healthy and all of that,” he explained.
“We are really sad as AmaBhaca. This is really a big blow for us.”
Diko involved in a protracted battle with his community, who accused him of ruling with an iron fist after he allegedly closed an access road in Ncunteni village that was next to his Elundzini Royal Residence in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape.
Diko, who claimed to be the king of AmaBhaca, had previously told City Press that he had closed the road for security reasons.
His company, Royal Bhaca, was also involved in a controversial personal protective equipment tender scandal in Gauteng which resulted in the axing of former health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku. His wife Khusela was also placed on special leave.