Chief Thandisizwe Madzikane II Diko (43) has passed away, the KwaBhaca Great Kingdom said in a statement issued on Monday morning.
Diko was the husband of presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko.
"It is with great sadness that kwaBhaca Great Kingdom announces the untimely passing of our King, His Majesty Madzikane II Diko." the statement said.
"Ingonyama Madzikane II Diko passed away in the afternoon of Sunday, 21 February 2021 in East London following a short illness. ISizwe samaBhaca and the Royal family are still coming to terms with this shocking and painful loss of our beloved father, son, and husband, and we will make further announcements once the Kingdom has finalised the arrangements for the burial."
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The statement went on to say that they are humbled by the outpouring of support and grief since the news of Diko's passing was made public.
"We thank you for keeping the family and iSizwe samaBhaca in your thoughts and prayers during this time of grief."
Speaking to DispatchLIVE, Diko’s brother-in-law, Prince Vuluthuba Sangoni, said that Diko's death took them by surprise.
“His death took us by surprise, usizimele usibali,” he told the news outlet. “This has left us devastated.”
Khusela Diko has been on a leave of absence for nearly six months now after it came to light that her husband (Chief Thandisizwe Madzikane II Diko) was awarded a multi-million rand tender by the Gauteng health department to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) in 2020. According to News24, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is still trying to recover the funds.