Regal kingship in dispute
The commission on traditional leadership disputes and claims is faced with the tough task of resolving a bitter feud about the Ama-Ndebele WakwaManala monarchy in Mpumalanga.
At each other's throats are Ingwenyama Makhosoke Mabena II and Zidli Mabena.
Zidli is claiming the kingship of AmaNdebele WakwaManala but Mabena II is determined to defend his throne.
Central to the dispute is a mystic royal baton that is passed on to the heir when his father dies or is too old to rule.
Zidli says his father was King Thukane Mabena, who succeeded his father King Mbhongo I in 1932. The confusion started soon after the death of Thukane in 1960.
Zidli's spokesman, Titus Mabena, said after Thukane's death, the father of Mabena II, King Mbhongo II, unlawfully ascended the throne instead of Thukane's heir Phephuka.
In defence, the Mabena II royal household put it to the commission that Thukane ascended the throne as a regent for Prince Mbhongo II who was too young to rule when his father, King Mbhongo II, died.
Spokesman for the Mabena II royal household, Peter Mabena, told Sowetan that Zidli's claims were "unfounded and ridiculous".
"These claims and challenge to the legitimacy of Makhosoke II's kingship mislead the Amandebele WakwaManala tribe.
"We and the tribe know that Ingwenyama Makhosoke II is the rightful ruler of AmaNdebele WakwaManala. We are not shaken or losing any sleep because of these claims," said Mabena.
The house of Zidli, the challenger, claims that the house of Mabena II is ruling without the royal baton. Zidli's spokesman, Titus Mabena, told Sowetan that from King Mbhongo I, the baton was passed on to Thukane.
Mabena II's spokesman, Peter Mabena, disputed that Mabena II was ruling without the baton.
"We don't know what baton they are talking about because Ingwenyama Makhosoke II is in possession of the baton dating back from the generation of King Silamba who ruled from 1892 to 1905. The baton was then passed on to King Mbhongo I and then to Mbhongo II in 1961. The baton was then given to Mbhedlengane, who was a regent for his brother's son Makhosoke II. The baton was then taken by Makhosoke II when he was old enough to rule in 1987," he said.