Pretoria - UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa and members of the AbaThembu are concerned that President Jacob Zuma may be taking sides in the move to dethrone King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, while calling for a government inquiry into the matter.
Zuma has also been criticised for giving the beleaguered king an ultimatum.
Last week Zuma, who has been the subject of repeated insults by the king, announced that Dalindyebo had 30 days to explain why he should not be removed from his throne after receiving complaints from members of the AbaThembu.
Dalindyebo is accused of bringing the royal house into disrepute by his detractors, after his conviction for culpable homicide, insulting the late Nelson Mandela and his penchant for smoking dagga.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) in the Eastern Cape has also accused Zuma of interfering in the business of the AbaThembu.
Holomisa, a member of the AbaThembu, called for an inquiry by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to settle the matter.
Holomisa was invited to the meeting, but had to be in Marikana on Sunday.
“I think the problem you have seemingly there, they are divided or you have those who are against King Buyelekhaya, same family members, and you have those who are for him. So the approach by government is they need to go slowly and not to be seen to be taking sides,” said Holomisa.
He pointed to two options.
“That is the president upon receiving a complaint from one group, if I were in his boots, I would have referred it to the relevant ministry to do an inquiry, a departmental inquiry, to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the complaint and the complainants themselves,” said Holomisa.
He said the inquiry would then give Dalindyebo a chance to give his side of the story.
“And then the department should submit to the cabinet what are their recommendations. But for the president to just issue an ultimatum without a cabinet resolution, it smacks of someone who is biased towards a certain group.”
On Sunday Thembus from as far as KwaZulu-Natal gathered in Enkululekweni, Mthatha, to discuss the king’s fate in one of the biggest gatherings of AbaThembu.
This followed concerns raised by a group of AbaThembu chiefs led by Chief Daludumo Mtirara, who want Dalindyebo to step down.
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj would not comment, saying Zuma’s decision was based entirely on the law.
The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act states that a king may be removed from office on the grounds of a “conviction of an offence with a sentence of imprisonment for more than 12 months without an option of a fine”. Transgression of a customary rule or principle also warrants removal.