Royal family fighting over chieftaincy in North West

The Fuba II Zibi Royal family is fighting over the chieftaincy of the AmaHlubi Traditional Community in the North West. Picture: Supplied.

The Fuba II Zibi Royal family is fighting over the chieftaincy of the AmaHlubi Traditional Community in the North West. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jun 2, 2024


THE Fuba II Zibi Royal family is fighting among themselves over the chieftaincy of AmaHlubi Traditional Community in the North West.

This as the family launched an urgent application to interdict and restrain the newly appointed Inkosana Vulindlela Zibi from performing functions as Kgosi, or senior traditional leader of Amahlubi.

The family also wants North West Premier Bushy Maape to be interdicted and restrained from issuing a notice in the North West Gazette recognising Inkosana Vulindlela Zibi as Kgosi, or senior traditional leader.

The family added that Maape should also be interdicted from serving the notice in the House of Traditional Leaders.

The family said Maape’s decision should be reviewed and set aside.

Vulindlela on Friday referred questions to spokesperson Mangelengele Zibi who said they were aware of the application and the matter is subjudice and judgement for Part A was reserved. He said the opposition grounds to application were listed in their court papers.

Chief director of communications in the North West Office of the Premier, Brian Setswambung, said Maape was aware of the application by virtue of being served with court papers.

Setswambung said the premier did not get involved in matters of the traditional council and its leadership. He said what was important was that any recognition made, upon which the recognition certificate was issued, was based on the royal family's decision.

“It will therefore mean that any decision made by the Premier in terms of the Act will have to be defended to justify its rightfulness,” he said.

Inkosana Vulindlela Ziba was appointed in March following the death of Inkosi Madoda Shadrack Zibi.

Inkosi Madoda Shadrack Zibi passed away on April 8, 2023.

He had three children, Vulindlela Zibi, Lutho Zibi and daughter Nomfundo Zibi. Vulindlela is the eldest.

In her affidavit supported by other members of the family, Vulindlela Zibi’s mother Thembekile Thokozile Zibi said it was agreed that Lutho was suitable for the position of a senior traditional leader during the meeting which was held on July 22, 2023.

She said she identified Lutho because he satisfied their customary criteria.

According to the guidelines, the qualities of such a leader must be someone who has respect for the customs, traditions and laws of the family and the nation. The person is also required to have leadership skills and be of value and good character aligned to the principles held high by the family.

Thembekile said Vulindlela was present at the meeting and accepted her decision that Lutho was the person who must assume the vacant position of the senior traditional leader of AmaHlubi Traditional Community.

She said this decision was also supported by the Zibi Royal Family and she notified Maape through the chairperson of the North West House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders.

She said despite the notification and a follow-up letter, Maape did not respond but was shocked when the House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders allegedly circulated an invitation for a meeting scheduled for April 23, 2024, and recognised Vulindlela as the senior traditional leader.

Thembekile said, however, that she did not have tangible evidence and she instructed Lutho to appoint a legal representative to write a letter to the House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders and Zibi Royal Council to ask whether the allegations of a meeting were true.

They also wanted to know whether Maape had published a notice in the Provincial Gazette recognising Vulindlela as the senior traditional leader.

She said the letter also highlighted that Vulindlela was not identified by the Fuba II Zibi Royal Family as the person who must assume the vacant position of the senior traditional leader of AmaHlubi Traditional Community.

She said she highlighted that Lutho was the one.

“The letter went further to state that there would be no lawful basis for the first respondent's (Vulindlela) recognition as the senior traditional leader,” she wrote.

Thembekile said the family did receive a response to the letter, but on May 16, Lutho furnished them with a copy of a document that appeared to be a certificate of recognition issued by Maape to Vulindlela.

She said although the recognition certificate came into effect on January 15, it seems to have only been signed by Maape on March 4.

“It was also brought to the applicants’ (the family's) attention that the first respondent had been travelling from village to village brandishing the aforementioned and declaring to members of the AmaHlubi Traditional Community in the North West that he was the senior traditional leader,” said Thembekile.

She added that the North West Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, through their Traditional Leadership Support Officials, invited Lutho to a meeting at KhayaKhulu on May 23.

She said while the agenda of the meeting was not clear, the letter asked Lutho to “bring the following government gadgets that were allocated to Kgosi Madoda Shadrack Zibi, being a laptop, cellphone and office key”.

Meanwhile, Nomfundo believes her brother has been used by politicians who want to push their agenda and benefit from their land. She said since her father’s passing their lives have been in constant danger. She said the land was rich in resources which politicians covet and they have resorted to colluding with community members to ensure the family was disrespected and divided.

“Recently, we experienced a tragic loss connected to a stock theft syndicate operating in our village, KhayaKhulu. This syndicate has been protected by our local police for years due to their involvement in the profits. Our lives are in jeopardy, because we have disrupted the illicit operations of people who have benefited from this cattle syndicate for years, affecting various villages and butcheries,” she said.

The AmaHlubi tribe moved from the Eastern Cape in 1920 and purchased land in 1924, under the leadership of uNkosi Fuba Zibi. This year marks their 100th anniversary in the North West.

Nomfundo added that instead of celebrating, the family found itself in a dire situation where some locals had gone to extreme lengths to make them feel unwelcome and unsafe, even after they won a land claim case in December 2021.