No mediation with amaMpondo King after 'amakhwenkwe' insult: Presidency

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

The Presidency on Monday said that the story published by the City Press newspaper, on Sunday, stating that President Jacob Zuma has established a high level government mediation team to discuss an alleged insult by the AmaMpondo King Zanozuko Sigcau, is incorrect.

The Presidency said according to the newspaper, a mediation team has been established by President Zuma, comprising the Deputy Minister responsible for traditional affairs at the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, Presidency Director-General, Dr Cassius Lubisi and Traditional Affairs Director-General, Prof Charles Nwaila, to discuss with the royal family about the alleged insult.

“This is not true. The President has not established such a team. There is no mediation between the President and King Sigcau.

"The royal family sent a letter of apology last month and the President accepted the apology formally through a letter from Dr Lubisi. The matter was then closed. There are no plans for any further discussion of the matter,” said the Presidency.

It is alleged that about two months ago, King Sigcau referred to Zulu King Zwelithini and President Zuma as “amakhwenkwe” – which in the Xhosa laungage means boys, who are yet to undergo traditional circumcision rituals.

King Sigcau reportedly made the reference at a traditional ­ceremony in Mbizana, after a local organisation that monitors traditional circumcision had invited Zwelithini to address the initiates.

The King allegedly questioned how “a boy” could be allowed to stand before young men coming back from an initiation school and allegedly added: “Zuma is worse!”

Disputed Kingship

While, he was confirmed by Zuma as the rightful King of amaMpondo aseQaukeni in November 2010, following a recommendation by the Nhlapho commission, King Sigcau’s kingship is disputed among his own subjects.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court overturned his confirmation and set aside his kingship.

He has however continued to hold onto the title.

- Additional reporting City Press/News24 and