WATCH: Zulu monarch tensions heighten as 'Royal Rebels’ tell Buthelezi your time is up
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Nongoma - King Goodwill Zwelithini’s sister, Princess Thembi Ndlovu, has hit out at Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, telling him “time is up” and that he should remove himself from the affairs of the Zulu royal family.
This is the latest spat from the Zulu royal court in Nongoma, following heightened tensions after the king’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini, approached the courts on an urgent application, saying the king’s will had been forged and in a bid for her to attain 50% of the king’s estate as part of her civil union with the deceased.
Princess Thembi, along with her brother, Prince Mbonisi Zulu, and four other princes called an impromptu press conference outside Kwakhangelamankengane Palace to vent after Buthelezi allegedly locked them out of a royal meeting held on Monday.
Angered by this, the four - who are now known as the ’Royal Rebels’, stormed out of the palace where the mourning for the late Queen Regent Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu is taking place.
The princess said Buthelezi was locking them out of their own royal house and should anything go wrong, people would blame them, “not the Prince (Buthelezi) whose home is KwaPhindangene (in Ulundi).”
“We want to meet with the Prince (Buthelezi) and tell him that he cannot chuck us out of our own home because exactly what he is doing is expelling us from our own home and occupy it himself.
“His time (as Zulu traditional prime minister) ended long ago. The reason why he is still in that position is because we respect him. We are told that he is the (traditional) prime minister of King Bhusha (King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, the father of King Goodwill Zwelithin), the King (Goodwill Zwelithini) never had a prime minister and the next one will appoint his own prime minister,” she said.
The princess repeated her claims that Buthelezi was conducting royal meetings with an iron fist, even chastising senior and female members of the royal family.
“The Prince just shrugs off our female elders, capitalising on the fact that they respect him, that is the challenge we have. He just tells everyone what to do without consulting anyone from the royal house, the Prince (Buthelezi) does what comes from his head,” she claimed.
On Sunday evening, Buthelezi issued a statement denying claims that he was a dictator and that he was not giving others an opportunity to speak. He said he once gave the princess time to pour her heart out during a royal family meeting.
"Her allegations that I am some sort of dictator who shoots people down when they have a view which with I disagree, is quite outlandish. I really challenge her to quote a single instance in which I shot anyone down during a family meeting," Buthelezi said on Sunday.
Despite the many salvos they fired at Buthelezi, the “royal clique” as they have been labelled by their opponents within the royal court, said they want a meeting with Buthelezi to iron out their differences. They also said they are open to reconciliation talks in order to restore unity in the royal house.
During the heated press conference where Prince Mbonisi agreed with the princess that "we will go on all the way," she also said they did not take kindly to Buthelezi labelling princes like Mbonisi and Prince Thokozani as illegitimate children, saying that is aimed at discrediting them in the public eye.