THE KwaZulu-Natal government has finally broken its silence over a controversial bid by five amakhosi to have themselves declared fully-fledged monarchs.

The provincial government said it only recognised Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini as a "monarch". Traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube yesterday cautioned against Zwelithini's name being associated with the controversy.

Dube said this "growing controversy" was threatening to belittle the revered institution of traditional leadership in KwaZulu-Natal and Zwelithini in particular.

"The Traditional Leadership Governance Act of KwaZulu-Natal is clear on the recognition of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini as the monarch of the province and there is no controversy," she said.

She said it was not necessary to use tactics to drag His Majesty into this saga.

"His Majesty does not have to answer to anyone on the sovereignty of the monarchy," she said.

Dube said she fully recognised the right of any member of society to air their feelings around any form of authority in the province, including the institution of traditional leadership.

One of the frontrunners in a kingship bid, inkosi Melizwe Dlamini of eNhlangwini in southern KwaZulu-Natal, has filed papers with the Pretoria High Court in an attempt to be accorded the same status as Zwelithini. In Durban last week Dlamini hit out at suggestions that all Africans in KwaZulu-Natal were Zulu, declaring this a "misnomer and an absurdity".

"This misnomer was a mythological creation which entrenched itself in the historiography of former British colonial writers in order to serve certain colonial interests," he said.

Dlamini said there was a Dlamini kingdom in Natal, not in Zululand.

"This kingdom (under King Fodo) was destroyed by the British in 1846. We want our kingdom back and we are not apologetic about it," he said.

Dlamini also underplayed the recognition of Zwelithini as the only monarch in the province, saying the Traditional Leadership Governance Act of KwaZulu-Natal, which conferred the status of a monarch on the Zulu king, was subordinate to the national act that established the commission on traditional leadership dispute and claims.

Dlamini, who has been at loggerheads with the Moleleki Commission since it indicated that it might not have time to consider his claim because its term would expire at the end of October, has also petitioned President Jacob Zuma to intervene.