Buthelezi lashes out at members of the Zulu royal family

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Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Picture: Lerato Maduna
  • More voices have emerged from the Zulu nation after the queen's death.
  • Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi  has decried allegations that the queen was poisoned.
  • Buthelezi has lashed out at siblings of King Goodwill Zwelithini, saying they "appear to consider themselves the royal family".

Traditional prime minister to the Zulu monarchy and nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, has lashed out at King Goodwill Zwelithini's siblings, saying that they "appear to consider themselves the royal family".

"I am deeply disturbed and angered by comments made during an impromptu press conference convened by two siblings of the late king, Prince Mbonisi and Princess Thembi, who appear to consider themselves 'the royal family', " he said on Monday morning.

Buthelezi, who is presently at odds with the two, slammed public statements they made over the weekend.

"During this press conference, Princess Thembi claimed that they had excluded me from an earlier secret meeting that they convened because I apparently do not give them space to freely discuss matters.

He said:

I find this strange when during an official family meeting held at the palace, in the presence of the regent, I literally pleaded with Princess Thembi to say what was in her heart. She then spoke frankly, for which I complimented her.

Buthelezi said Princess Thembi's allegation was that he was "some sort of dictator who shoots people down" when they disagree with him. But he said the claim was "quite outlandish".

"I really challenge her to quote a single instance in which I shot anyone down during a family meeting. The only instance in which I ever chided a member of the family was when my grandniece, Princess Nombuso, was speaking out of turn. It is known, however, that Princess Nombuso even used to argue with her own father, the king."

ALSO READ | Zulu Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Regent of the Zulu Nation, has died

Buthelezi added that Princess Thembi's reasons for excluding him seemed strange.

"By giving this as the reason for excluding me from their meeting, Princess Thembi is being mendacious, diverting attention from the fact that they never even informed Her Majesty the regent about the meeting, or the queen mother, or any other senior member of the royal family."

I did not say the queen was poisoned

Buthelezi also addressed poisoning allegations levelled against the prince and princess.

"Agreeing to this false statement, her brother Prince Mbonisi confirmed her allegation that they are being blamed for poisoning the regent. It is not clear who is blaming them, or why they feel they are being blamed at all. But it is clear that they want to paint me as the author of the rumours that Her Majesty was poisoned. They know very well that this is not the case."

Buthelezi denied that the queen was poisoned.

"When I announced Her Majesty the regent's passing, I spoke in isiZulu, explaining that doctors had not wanted to operate because of toxins in her liver. This required treatment with antibiotics in the hope of reducing the infection. Toxins are not the same thing as poison.

"It is thus grossly irresponsible of the Sunday Independent to have run with the false story that I ever suggested that the regent died from being poisoned."

He said the cause of death had not been disclosed.

"The cause of Her Majesty's death is yet to be revealed. Her doctors ordered a post mortem, which has been done, and the results will be known in two weeks' time. I would never speculate, and indeed I did not speculate on the cause of death."

They did not grow up in the royal court

Buthelezi went on to criticise Prince Thokozani and others, stating that their royal responsibilities were limited.

"A new voice in the midst of all this is Prince Thokozani who has suddenly emerged as a vociferous critic of the royal family's decisions. I am shocked by his comments at today's impromptu press conference as he has no authority to question the royal family. He is someone whom we have always known as Mr Msweli, the son of Prince Penuel, born out of wedlock. He did not grow up in the royal court.

"Indeed, Prince Mbonisi likewise did not grow up in the royal court. His mother was not married to King Cyprian. Knowing this, we all applauded the way His Majesty King Zwelithini embraced him and used him to run errands."

He said that Princess Thembi, as a sister of the late king, "has every right to participate in family matters".

"But, as a married woman, she has no status to drive programmes in the manner she is now doing. I state these facts to clarify that they are not in any way speaking on behalf of the Zulu royal family. They are speaking on their own behalf. Moreover, what they are saying is deeply disrespectful to the royal family, to the late regent and to the late king, for whom we are still in mourning."

Commenting on royal protocol, Buthelezi said allegations that the queen was "somehow shoved down their throats" were untrue.

"His Majesty the king appointed Her Majesty as regent. If they have a quarrel, it is with the king himself."

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