controversy hits kzn chieftainship

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The amaNgwane traditional authority in Bergville in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands yesterday disowned arrested inkosi Menzi Hlongwane by denying that he was their chief.

Hlongwane, 32, was arrested on Thursday for assault and attempted murder. He remains in police custody until he appears in court on a date to be announced.

Hlongwane is one of five amakhosi who applied to the Mohlomi Moleleki Commission to be accorded the same status as the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini. Tribal authority spokesman, Khumbulani Sydney Ngwenya, said Hlongwane "is not our legitimate leader".

"He is not from the original house or hierarchy of the amaNgwane clan, but that of amaHlubi.

"We were shocked when King Goodwill installed him as the amaNgwane chief in 2005."

Ngwenya said they also challenged why their inkosi was installed by the king of the Zulus when they are not Zulus.

"We are not Zulus. Why did the king of the Zulus instal the king of another nation? Does it mean a Basotho king can instal a Zulu king?" he asked.

Ngwenya said they have written several letters seeking clarification to Kwazulu-Natal's traditional affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and House of Traditional Leaders head Mangosuthu Buthelezi on the matter.

Only Buthelezi had responded.

He said he personally handed a letter to Zwelithini but never received a response from him.

"Even Premier S'bu Ndebele is aware of this, but he is also not helping us," said Ngwenya.

He said President Thabo Mbeki is also aware of their problem.

"Mbeki responded by saying that he had ordered Mabuyakhulu to address the matter, but he has done nothing," Ngwenya said.

Spokesman for the house of traditional affairs, Mthatheni Mabaso, said according to their records they don't know the amaNgwane traditional authority.

"The only structure we know is the amaNgwane traditional council, and not this day dreamer [Ngwenya]. We can only encourage him to dream on," he said.

He said when Hlongwane was installed, a family tree was used and historically he is the legitimate inkosi of amaNgwane.

"Whoever disputes this must have records challenging such a decision," Mabaso said.