Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Mangosuthu Buthelezi tells court why he is integral member of Zulu Royal family

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Aug 4, 2021

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Durban - Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi has extensively detailed why his position as the traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarch and nation, which gives him the immense powers that are now being questioned by royal family members who are saying he is imposing himself, was bestowed to him and grants him the right to convene royal meetings.

His explanation is contained in responding papers he filed after Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu asked the Pietermaritzburg High Court to kick him out of the royal battle over the estate and the will of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The queen and her two daughters, Princess Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Princess Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, are contesting that Buthelezi should not take part in the battle because “he is a mere nephew” and his position is not constitutionally recognised.

But Buthelezi is having none of it, arguing the position of traditional prime minister gives him the right to convene royal meetings and at some point, he called meetings when the late king had marital issues with his wives.

Giving historical background, Buthelezi said the position has always been held by the Buthelezis of Mahlabathini in Ulundi, starting from Inkosi Ngqengelele and he is holding it because he was appointed to it by King Cyprian in 1954, taking it from his late father, Inkosi Mathole Buthelezi.

Beyond that, Buthelezi argues that he is also a royal family member as he is the son of Princess Constance Magogo and he grew up in the Zulu royal court.

“My connection with the Royal Family has a long history. I grew up in the Royal Courts, and my knowledge and experience of matters involving the Zulu Royal Family dates back to the time of King Shaka, the Great. My great-great grandfather, uNqengelele Buthelezi, was prime minister to King Mpande. My great-grandfather, uMnyamana Buthelezi, was prime minister to King Cetshwayo; and my father, uMathole Buthelezi, was Prime Minister to King Dinuzulu.

“In my time as the prime minister of the Zulu Nation I have presided over all matters of the Zulu Royal Family, including adjudicating in disputes between the late king and his wives. I, and Prince Fihlinqindi are the only elders and the only surviving grandchildren of King Dinuzulu,” Buthelezi said in the papers.

Turning to the application by the two princesses who want to have the will of the late king to be set aside as they allege that his signature was forged, Buthelezi said their application is bound to fail.

“Firstly, to the extent that the order suspending the execution of the late king’s will is dependent upon the contemplated impeachment proceedings, it is doomed to fail because, firstly, the late king’s signature on the impugned will is authentic; and secondly, even if the impugned will was invalid (for any other reason), the late king’s previous will (of August12 2014 is unimpeachable).

“Would prevail – and in it, the late King similarly identified the late queen as his successor to the throne (principally because, as a matter of fact, the queen mother is the “true power” behind the throne). It is thus self-evident that the late king consistently expressed his wishes in clear terms and signified his support for his successor to emerge from the Royal House of KwaKhangelamankengane.”

Furthermore, Buthelezi’s affidavit reveals that some members of the royal family objected to having the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu (not related to Queen Sibongile), the mother of King Misuzulu being made acting regent was that they viewed her as an outsider because of her Swati origin.

However, after debates during a meeting in March, senior royal family members insisted that she should take the role as questioning her nationality or ethnicity was wrong.

Buthelezi also said it was amusing to have the princesses questioning the ascendancy of Misuzulu as king, saying there is no other candidate who can take over the position and even the princesses don’t have their own preferred candidate.

The high court is yet to set a date for oral arguments by lawyers of warring royal parties.

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Political Bureau

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