Durban — It came as a huge surprise when King Misuzulu announced Zululand District Municipality Mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi and former KZN Provincial House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders (KZNHTL) chairperson Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza as new influential leaders in his kingdom.
Buthelezi was appointed traditional prime minister of the Zulu kingdom following the death of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Chiliza was appointed Buthelezi’s deputy, a new position that has been created.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Chiliza said it came as a shock to him.
The announcement was made last week at the 145th commemoration of the historic Battle of Isandlwana in Nquthu, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
“When the king announced these positions he took all of us by surprise, as he did not consult with anyone.
“It was even more surprising because it was the first time in the history of the Zulu kingdom to have a deputy prime minister,” said Chiliza.
Chiliza, who was at the helm of the KZNHTL until June 2022, said he would use this position to bring peace and unity within the royal family.
The royal family has since King Goodwill Zwelithini’s death on March 12, 2021, been embroiled in court battles over who should inherit the throne.
Misuzulu’s kingship is currently being challenged by a section of his family who believed that his elder brother Prince Simakade was the rightful heir.
The Pretoria High Court in December set aside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recognition of Misuzulu as Zwelithini’s successor, but the decision is being appealed.
Chiliza said he would be cautious about talking openly about the affairs of the royal family, but expressed his delight at the appointment.
“We strongly believe that the king speaks directly with ancestors and God, who gave him the instruction to take this decision,” said Chiliza.
Although the king has not yet given Buthelezi and Chiliza their job descriptions, Chiliza said his most important task would be to forge unity and peace within the royal family “so that even if we have disagreements we respect the kingship, which is the most important thing in the Zulu nation”.
“If there is unity in the royal family, God could do wonderful things (for the nation) because God only works where there is peace and harmony.”
He said the king was expected to hold a meeting with stakeholders to explain his decision.
“The king wishes that there should be different tasks for each position so that things could get done,” he said.
Chiliza said he was not expecting that he and Buthelezi would be paid for their roles.
“The Prince of KwaPhindangene (Mangosuthu Buthelezi) was a traditional prime minister for 54 years and he was never paid for the position, but was doing the work voluntarily because of love for the Zulu nation,” said Chiliza.
Inkosi Sifiso Shinga, the new KZNHTL chairperson, congratulated Chiliza on his role, saying his close proximity to the royal family would continue to bring the interest of the House close to the king’s ear.
“While he was the chairperson of amakhosi, he worked very closely with the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, which benefited a lot for us, and this would bring us closer to the newly appointed prime minister (Buthelezi).
“He (Chiliza) is still the member of the KZNHTL council and he also represents us in the national body,” said Shinga.
Buthelezi declined to comment about his new position, saying that he would first have to get permission from the king.