AmaMpondo roy­als fight over king­ship

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

The Eastern Cape’s amaMpondo royal fam­ily’s anger is build­ing over gov­ern­ment’s per­sis­tence in recog­nis­ing Zanozuko Sig­cau as king of their na­tion – de­spite a Con­sti­tu­tional Court rul­ing that his late un­cle Mpon­dom­bini Sig­cau had been the right­ful monarch.

Stella Sig­cau II, se­nior mem­ber and spokesper­son of the amaMpondo royal fam­ily, wrote a let­ter – dated July 28 – to Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han and his Eastern Cape coun­ter­part, Fikile Xasa, to com­plain that gov­ern­ment has ig­nored a June 2013 Con­sti­tu­tional Court rul­ing that posthu­mously re­in­stated Mpon­dom­bini as king.

Mpon­dom­bini was de­posed by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma af­ter the Nhlapo Com­mis­sion on Tra­di­tional Lead­er­ship Dis­putes and Claims found he was not the right­ful monarch, and recog­nised Zanozuko in­stead.

“It has come to the at­ten­tion of the royal fam­ily that even though Nkosi Zanozuko Sig­cau lost in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion ... the Eastern Cape gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to in­vite him to their ac­tiv­i­ties to at­tend and speak as a king of amaMpondo, and he is also ac­corded pro­to­cols due to a king,” wrote Sig­cau II.

Zanozuko, Mpon­dom­bini’s nephew, who sup­ports both the pro­posed N2 Wild Coast toll road pro­ject and the Xolobeni ti­ta­nium min­ing pro­ject, is seen to be too sym­pa­thetic to gov­ern­ment.

In the let­ter, the royal fam­ily told Gord­han and Xasa that con­tin­u­ing to af­ford Zanozuko king­ship sta­tus was not only pro­ce­du­rally flawed but also in­fringed on the cus­tom­ary rights of the amaMpondo and un­der­mined the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

Xasa’s spokesper­son, Mamkeli Ngam, ac­knowl­edged re­ceipt of the let­ter.

“We have re­ceived the let­ter from the amaMpondo royal fam­ily, which al­leges that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment (not our depart­ment, as such) recog­nises Zanozuko as king. Our view is that this let­ter should have been ad­dressed to the of­fice of the premier be­cause its con­tent re­flects that the fam­ily has an is­sue with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“We are, how­ever, go­ing to re­spond to the let­ter in due course as the depart­ment, and ad­dress the mat­ters raised by the fam­ily at an ap­pro­pri­ate stage.” Mpon­dom­bini was de­throned as king of Eastern Pon­doland in 2010. He was the only king to be de­posed – oth­ers were given “prin­ci­pal tra­di­tional lead­er­ship” sta­tus un­til their deaths.

Mpon­dom­bini first took Zanozuko, Zuma, the Nhlapo com­mis­sion and six other re­spon­dents to the North Gaut­eng High Court, where he lost his case. He suc­ceeded in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, which ruled in his favour less than three months af­ter he died.

Ten­sions be­tween un­cle and nephew were so bad at one point that Zanozuko fled his home in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape, and took refuge at a hide­out in KwaZulu-Natal sur­rounded by body­guards.

Gord­han’s spokesper­son, Tsakani Baloyi, had not re­sponded to ques­tions by the time of go­ing to press.

King Zanozuko Sig­cau

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