Row brewing over suspension of AmaNdebele king

Alfred Moselakgomo

The decision by the royal family to suspend the king of AmaNdebele in Mpumalanga has been received with mixed feelings by the community.

Last week King Mabhoko III of Siyabuswa in the KwaMhlanga area was suspended by the royal family and an interim king was installed at the weekend.

But the meeting to present the interim king was thrown into disarray by a court interdict by the suspended king.

Mabhoko, who was crowned after the recent death of his father, Maisha III, is accused of misconduct, which includes disregarding the royal family and failure to perform Ndebele rituals during the Ingoma, or initiation.

He is also accused of failing to attend government gatherings.

Elias Mahlangu, spokesman for the royal family, told Sowetan: "The decision is in the best interests of the community.

"Administration in our area came to grinding halt because of the lack of leadership. We believe now that he is out of the way, there will be some direction in service delivery."

A resident, who did not want to be named, said: "The king was unceremoniously suspended. The royal family should have consulted with Mabhoko's bosses if they felt he was incompetent."

Mzingeli Mthethwa, chairman of the house of traditional leaders in Mpumalanga, said: "I can only confirm that we are investigating all the allegations, but, until completed, I cannot comment."

The family has appointed Slilo Mahlangu as temporary king for the duration of the investigations. Repeated efforts to get Mabhoko's comment were unsuccessful.