Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Regent of the Zulu Nation.
In a statement on Thursday night he said, "It is with the deepest shock and distress that the Royal Family announces the unexpected passing of Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, Regent of the Zulu Nation".
"This has taken us by surprise and left us utterly bereft. It is true that the Lord alone knows the days that He has allotted to each one of us.
"On behalf of the Royal Family, I wish to assure the nation that while we are all rightly grief-stricken, there will be no leadership vacuum in the Zulu Nation.
"Further announcements on Her Majesty’s funeral and the necessary arrangements will be made in due course.
"May Her Majesty, our Regent, rest in peace."
The Witness wrote previously that the Zulu royal family on Tuesday confirmed that Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, the senior wife of the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, had been admitted to hospital.
Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the brother of the late Zulu king, said Queen Dlamini Zulu (65) was recuperating in hospital. In March, she was appointed as interim ruler of the Zulu nation pending the installation of the king's successor. He said she had "been unwell for a long time”.
Prince Mbonisi would not disclose the hospital in which Dlamini Zulu had been admitted nor the nature of her illness.
Dlamini Zulu is the daughter of the late eSwatini leader, King Sobhuza 11, and sister of King Mswati.
King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who died on March 12, at the age of 72 at Durban’s Inkosi Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital, ruled the Zulu nation for almost 50 years, becoming the longest serving monarch in Africa.
His wife, Dlamini Zulu, was installed as the Zulu nation regent in line with his wishes as detailed in the will that apparently also has the name of his successor.
While the royal family was yet to disclose the name of King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s successor, there are rumours that he chose Queen Dlamini Zulu’s eldest son, Misuzulu Zulu.