East London - A faction of the abaThembu royal family has rejected support for Prince Azenathi Zanelizwe Dalindyebo, son of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, to assume the throne while his father serves time in jail.
A spokesperson for the royal family, Daludumo Mtirara, said his group "dismisses" the appointment of Azenathi Dalindyebo, claiming other members were using his name to suit their own agenda, TimesLive reported.
Mtirara felt the young prince, who is 23-years-old, should rather concentrate on his studies.
Azenathi’s appointment however was backed by the abaThembu’s executive committee on Monday, a committee set up by Dalindyebo senior in 2009.
Queen Nokwanda Dalindyebo, Buyelekhaya's wife, has also vied for the seat.
Request for new king
The abaThembu royal family elders were expected to meet last week to discuss who would succeed the king, News24 reported.
At the meeting, the royal family agreed to ask President Jacob Zuma to strip Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of the certificate that recognised him as king under South African law, following his incarceration.
His spear has already been taken away, dethroning him customarily.
The king, meanwhile, was admitted to St Dominic's Hospital in East London on Friday after falling ill due to a hunger strike, EFF leader Julius Malema told News24 on Saturday.
"The hunger strike started on Sunday and he said he was waiting for this type of visit. Only now is he going to start eating."
Malema and members of the EFF executive had met with the king and advised him to start eating again.
"The king has accepted that he will eat," Malema said.
In 2009, Dalindyebo was sentenced to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson, and kidnapping.
He was granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In October last year, the SCA set aside his culpable homicide conviction and reduced his sentence to 12 years.
His crimes involved the treatment he meted out to some of his subjects in 1995 and 1996.