A feud has erupted in the Molefe clan in Nqutu, northern KwaZulu-Natal, over the pending appointment of 26-year-old Bokang Molefe as the new chief.
Molefe is tipped to succeed his father Alphas Molefe, who died last year. But the move has created ill-feeling within the clan because some members say Molefe senior had only been a regent who was supposed to rule until his nephew Kopano came of age.
Bokang Molefe is expected to be installed by King Goodwill Zwelithini as the clan's traditional leader within the next few weeks.
"Alphas was not the rightful leader," said elder Norman Molefe. "It was his nephew Kopano and his sister Eva who should have been given the position after their father Mahlonono, who was our leader, died."
He said Alphas Molefe was appointed as regent because Kopano was a minor. Kopano's mother had expected Alphas to vacate the position when her son came of age.
"The next day Kopano's home was burnt to ashes. Kopano was forced to leave the area and he is still in hiding," the elder claimed.
Lennox Mabaso, local government spokesperson for traditional affairs, said he was unaware of any plan to install a new leader.
"The department has to follow a process when an inkosi is appointed. This involves consultation between the department and the family."