Ricochet News

Govt intervenes in AbaThembu Kingship dispute between father and son

Jun 23, 2020
Govt intervenes in AbaThembu Kingship dispute between father and son

Bhisho - In a move to end a bitter dispute over, who should be the AbaThembu King, Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, on Monday confirmed that he had sent a letter to Acting King Azenathi Zanelizwe Dalindyebo to vacate the throne.

Prince Azenathi had been elected by the AbaThembu royal council in 2016 to sit on the throne of his imprisoned father, AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, as acting king while his father served out his 12-year prison sentence. Apparently, the King had told his son not to take up the throne and to focus on his university studies.

He had reportedly, wanted his wife to act as regent - as he, as a father, could not be a subject of his son. However, the Prince, with support from other AbaThembu great houses and with the endorsement of government, assumed the throne in an Acting capacity.

In December last year, King Buyelekhaya got an early release from prison. However, when he tried to reclaim his throne, his son, the regent King, refused to step down - sparking a bitter dispute that threatened to split the AbaThembu Royal Family as members were forced to choose sides.

In the ensuing dispute, King Buyelekhaya even publicly disputed the paternity of Prince Azenathi, which, by tradition, would automatically disqualify the regent. On the other hand, the Prince publicly stated he was prepared to undergo DNA tests to prove that he was indeed the King's son.

At the beginning of March, King Buyelekhaya had a restraining order issued against him by the courts, which prevented him from accessing his palace after an alleged early morning violent confrontation.

A week ago, while the King was prevented from entering the palace, several members of the AmaDlomo clan apparently met and voted to install Prince Azenathi as the new permanent AbaThembu King.

King Buyelekhaya insisted that the meeting was null and void since it was only him, who had the birthright to call a meeting of royals.

The main question among observers was whether it was culturally acceptable for a son to take the throne while his father was still alive - and, apparently, still capable of conducting his royal duties? The Prince had also been merely entrusted to keep the throne for the King, but, by all accounts, now seemed determined to keep it for himself, which raised eyebrows.

Government intervenes in AbaThembu Kingship dispute

In a statement on Monday, Premier Mabuyane announced that he had sent a letter to the now-former Acting Abathembu King, Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo, informing him of his decision to terminate his acting responsibility for the AbaThembu Kingdom.

In his letter, the Premier noted that the Constitution gave him powers to review whether the services of an Acting King were still required. Apparently, the period for the Prince's Acting role had elapsed in February this year.

He then called for the Prince to vacate the throne, the title as well as the palace and said that all the public benefits that go with Kingship where to be cancelled. 

"This communication means AbaThembu King, His Majesty, Ah! Zwelibanzi Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo returns to his throne," Mabuyane said.

"This is done in line with relevant and applicable legislation regulating such processes and decisions. Government wants to complete this process soon.

"Government has engaged AbaThembu King, his Majesty Ah! Zwelibanzi, Prince Azenathi and members of the Royal family on the matter."

A letter signed by Premier Mabuyane on a letterhead of another department and not on the Premier’s letterhead was sent to Prince Azenathi through Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.

"We are in the process of submitting this correspondence to Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo on a letter with the Premier’s seal."

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook. For news on the Western Cape click here.

For great savings on life’s little pleasures visit Bargain Buys!  Know somebody who is getting married, Wedding and Function can assist.  Have kids, then you need to visit Kids Connection. Enjoy food and travel, then visit Home Food and Travel. Need assistance with an online presence, visit Agency One.