Order reigns over Zulu throne
Buthelezi puts rumours of royal rivalry to rest
STABILITY around the Zulu monarchy appeared to have finally returned, with the announcement last night that Prince Simakade Zulu – earlier rumoured as a contender to the throne – was fully behind the new king and had never aspired to contest him.
Ending weeks of ructions in the royal household over the throne, the traditional prime minister to the kingdom Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi read a statement yesterday, in which Prince Zulu refuted rampant speculation that he had aspired to become king.
Buthelezi also said during a press briefing, in Durban, that King Misuzulu kaZwelithini had turned down a mediation offer by Premier Sihle Zikalala and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, saying it was not required.
“Following His Majesty the King’s appointment last Friday, the honourable Premier of KZN (Sihle Zikalala) and Dr Dlamini Zuma approached me with an offer to mediate in the royal family,” said Buthelezi.
“I advised that I would take their proposal to His Majesty, because I can no longer make decisions without referring matters to the king. Upon consultation with His Majesty, both the king and the queen mother, Queen Mother Mavis MaZungu, asked that I should thank the premier and the minister for the offer but that at the moment they feel quite capable of sorting out any problems, without seeking any outside help. I conveyed this to the premier and His Majesty, the King spoke – using my phone – with both the premier and the queen,” said Buthelezi.
Reading from a statement Buthelezi said was given to him, in his capacity as the traditional prime minister, by Prince Simakade Zulu, he said his grandnephew said he was fully in support of his half brother, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
Buthelezi, adding that Zulu had made the request to make it clear that he gave his full support and loyalty to the king, read from the statement – which says: “I hear that through the media that my name is being mentioned, that I, Simakade Jackson Zulu, want to contest the throne. I was happy to see Princess Londiwe Zulu on TV, saying on her own that I never said to her that I want the position. I confirm that I have never told anyone that I want this position.
“I hear that there are those who wish for me to take the throne, but there is nothing I can do about other people’s feelings. I must stress that my aunt, Princess Thembi Ndlovu, and the Prince of eKhwezi Prince Mbonisi, warned us – as the children of the king – that we should always support the name that has been announced by either the late king or the royal family.
“I would never defy the advice of the elders. I am asking Prince Buthelezi, when he reads the statement as it is, to ask all media houses to refrain from phoning me about this matter, because there is nothing more I can say about it.”
Buthelezi said he also noted media reports, in which it was indicated that Police Minister Bheki Cele and former president Jacob Zuma were “allegedly mediating what is said to be a conflict in the royal family”.
“As far as the king and the royal family members are concerned, mediation is unnecessary in this matter,” said Buthelezi, who insisted “it will be clear now that there is no dispute, at present, over the throne”.
Buthelezi also used the briefing to launch a broadside against the KwaZulu-Natal ANC leadership, alleging they had always scuppered all attempts to foster reconciliation with the IFP – following the 1980s “people’s war”, involving followers of the IFP and ANC.
Regarding the issue of security at the king’s KwaKhangelamankengane Palace, he criticised the ANC for suggesting he had raised concerns on the withdrawal of the SAPS VIP unit, without enough evidence.
He said he had obtained the information from an advocate of the high court, who has been deployed at the palace, and from a police colonel in charge of the police detail at the palace.
“I find it surprising in the extreme that the ANC in this province should then chip in and accuse me of having a political programme. I have no political programme. I am part of the royal family, quite apart from my position as traditional prime minister.
“I am very distressed by the statement by the ANC in the province, because they are the ones who have always scuppered all our efforts at reconciliation. All the time, they prevented Mr Mandela from coming to see me after he was released from prison. When Mr Mandela wanted to address a joint rally of the ANC and IFP supporters, Mr Harry Gwala took a bus load of provincial ANC leaders to Joburg, to tell him not to go there. I could not meet my friend Mr Mandela until a year after his release,” Buthelezi cited, among other things.
Asked whether he aspired to continue as the prime minister, he said he was no longer eyeing any positions.
“At my age, I am living each day by the grace of God. When the time comes for me to close my eyes – I want to know that when I close my eyes, we have closed the wound between the ANC and IFP,” said Buthelezi.