- Abathembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo says he was joking when he told an elective conference he was drunk.
- Dalindyebo told traditional leaders that he drank "strong stuff" before attending the conference and that he was drunk.
- The kingdom said Dalindyebo's opening remarks at the Contralesa conference have been blown out of proportion.
AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo got tongues wagging after telling the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) elective conference in Mthatha on Friday, that he was drunk at the very moment he was delivering opening remarks.
At the event, held at the Savoy Hotel, Dalindyebo justified his conduct by blaming the leaders for sending him an invitation "in the last minute" when he had already knocked back a few.
Dalindyebo was invited to formally open the conference as it was organised in his territory of Abathembu in the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality, named after his late father.
Holding a microphone in his left hand, before admitting to being drunk, the smiling monarch first removed a sweet from his mouth and handed it to someone seated at the table.
"I am hiding the smell with this sweet because you invited me in the last minute when I had already begun drinking my spirits. You have caught me drunk," said Dalindyebo.
His remark, in IsiXhosa, set off a chorus of laughter from the 120 delegates who had gathered to vote for Contralesa's new leaders.
Dalindyebo's speech was streamed live on Eastern Cape government social networks, with the video having now gone viral.
Dalindyebo's spokesperson, Mthunzi Ngonyama, said the king was still amazed how his opening remarks were blown out of proportion.
Ngonyama said Dalindyebo was only making a joke to entertain his audience.
"He finds these attacks extremely malicious without context. The media has done it again by deciding to deflect from his main issues he raised during the conference."
Ngonyama said Dalindyebo raised important issues during his speech and also complained about kings being made to bow down to the "Roman Dutch law-established judges".
The conference re-elected Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana to serve another term as Contralesa's provincial chairman.
He defeated Nkosi Mnoneleli Ranuga and Nkosi Vuyani Gwebindlala after garnering 72 votes, while his opponents received 54 and 30 votes respectively.
Premier Oscar Mabuyane also gave a message of support at the conference. Contralesa national president Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena was also in attendance.
Nkosi Langa Mavuso from Amathole was elected as deputy chair while OR Tambo's Nkosi Mkhanyiseli Dudumayo was elected provincial secretary.
Nkosi Ntombomzi Malahle, also from OR Tambo, was elected Dudumayo's deputy, while Alfred Nzo's Morena Khuali was elected treasurer.
Prince Zweliyadinga Makinana from Buffalo City region was elected deputy treasurer.