AmaXhosa king Mpendulo Sigcawu is gravely ill in an East London public hospital and attempts are being made to quickly transfer him to Pretoria’s 1 Military Hospital.
Mamkeli Ngam, the Eastern Cape department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs’ spokesperson, said his department was working around the clock to help the ailing king.
“We are working with the family to make sure that he gets to the military hospital in Pretoria with immediate effect so that he can recover soon.
“We need to take immediate action to ensure that he gets the best medical care available,” Ngam said.
He said the department wished Sigcawu, who is due to be officially installed as AmaXhosa king in September, a speedy recovery.
“Our prayers are with him and his family. We need him to continue with his development programmes in his nation. We need his services and so do his people,” Ngam said.
Provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the king was admitted to hospital on Thursday.
“He was in a very critical condition on arrival and was treated at the high care unit. His condition has since improved and he has now been moved from high care,” Kupelo said.
He is currently being treated at the Frere Hospital. Kupelo could not give details of his condition.
This is not the first health scare involving King Sigcawu: in 2009 he spent the night on a public hospital bench at Mthatha General Hospital after being stabbed with a syringe allegedly containing poison.
His then wife, Queen Nolwando, slept on the floor alongside him and the king later described the incident as like “being in hell”.
The king was last seen in public at the funeral of former president Thabo Mbeki’s mother Epainette in Dutywa last month.
He looked frail as he delivered an emotional tribute to the late Epainette.
The king’s spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.