AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo came face to face with his son, Prince Azenathi, for the first time at the Mthatha High Court on Thursday.
The two royals, who have been at loggerheads over the kingdom, crossed swords at the court after Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane removed Azenathi as acting king and reaffirmed Dalindyebo as king.
Azenathi, who was represented by advocate Apla Bodlani, was in court to challenge his removal.
In his argument, Bodlani told the court that Mabuyane, when doing a review of Azenathi’s acting period, did not “hear him” or give him three months’ notice as contained in the Constitution.
The case has attracted legal heavyweights Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Dali Mpofu, who respectively represent Dalindyebo and the premier and the provincial government.
Bodlani, who also represents first applicant Thandisizwe Mtirara, the chairperson of the AmaDlomo royal family, said they did not want Dalindyebo's certificate of recognition to be removed.
He said the court proceedings had nothing to do with President Cyril Ramaphosa because he was not the one to conduct the review.
“What we want does not have anything to do with the president. The premier was going to conduct a review, not the president. We are not applying for the removal of the certificate of recognition for the third respondent (King Dalindyebo), but we are saying that the second applicant (Prince Azenathi) should have been given three months’ notice,” argued Bodlani
He said Azenathi’s removal from the position of acting king had been done “willy-nilly” by the provincial government, and was not what he signed up for.
Bodlani also argued how his client’s state-sponsored vehicle was taken away from him without his consent. He was referring to a white Jeep SUV which was used by Azenathi and was taken by the provincial government after his acting period came to an end.
The respondents are expected to present their case later.
Azenathi’s supporters were seen picketing outside the high court, vowing that he would take power.
Inside the court, Dalindyebo and Azenathi sat on opposite sides of the courtroom and barely made eye contact.
Security was tight, with police present inside and outside the courtroom.