Zulu royal elders enter the fray in battle for the Ingonyama Trust

Buthelezi urged to continue to protect and guide on matters

Buthelezi has stalled due to disagreements with the king's brother over the governance of the Ingonyama Trust board.
Buthelezi has stalled due to disagreements with the king's brother over the governance of the Ingonyama Trust board. 

A group of elders from Zulu royal houses want to see more of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini at his palace and are urging his prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi to reconsider his stance on refusing to sign an affidavit in support of the king in a legal battle challenging the throne. However, there is a condition.

"It was desirable and urgent that his majesty is available to members of royalty and amakhosi who seek advice and have rituals to perform in a palace, for example ukuthela amanzi [anointing of amakhosi by the king]. This is only possible when his majesty is at the palace (Esigodlweni)," the group said. 

The call follows rumours the king is spending most of his time in Umhlanga Rocks and Durban suburbia than Zululand, where most palaces are located. 

The group, called Abakhuseli Besihlalo (protectors of the throne), is made up of members from heads of royal houses.

The king's whereabouts and the outstanding affidavit were a matter of discussion at the group's inaugural meeting after the nominations for the structure at a meeting of the Zulu royal family last week.

On the affidavit stalemate between Buthelezi and King Misuzulu, the elders resolved the king should not dump the initial lawyers.

"The prime minister to the king and the Zulu nation is requested to sign affidavits, adding to the 25 he has signed, only if requested to do so by old attorneys who have been presented to indlunkulu and amakhosi." 

The matter of the outstanding affidavit was ventilated by Buthelezi during his meeting with amakhosi three weeks ago. It relates to a legal challenge brought by the king's older brother, who believes he is the rightful heir to the throne.

However, Buthelezi has stalled due to disagreements with the king's brother over the governance of the Ingonyama Trust board. 

The traditional prime minister recently told amakhosi and the royal family: "The king, in his letter to me on May 17, indicated he would rather forgo my affidavit in the case brought by Prince Simakade and Prince Mbonisi, despite the fact that his legal team had warned the case would likely fail without my affidavit."

On the matter of the Ingonyama Trust board, Abakhuseli Besihlalo called for transparency and emphasised their sole focus was on preserving the authority of the trust on the land it administered.

"Members of the public need to know correct and factual information regarding matters that affect the Ingonyama Trust board and the Ingonyama Trust.

"Abakhuseli Besihlalo will appreciate it if the Zulu nation focuses on issues and not persons as they wish to assist in being part of a solution to the threatening eventuality of our land dispossession once again," said Prince Thulani Zulu.

King Misuzulu has announced his unwavering support for the new Ingonyama Trust board, particularly the appointment of Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela as chairperson — something Buthelezi does not accept. 

Abakhuseli Beishlalo stressed they were not attempting to challenge King Misuzulu. They said they wholeheartedly pledge their loyalty to him and hope all Zulu protocols, philosophies and values will be observed and adhered to all the time. 

The group asked Buthelezi to stay on as traditional prime minister, after he spoke about vacating the position due to the Ingonyama Trust board disagreement.

"The results of the historic work done by the author and founder of the Ingonyama Trust, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, which led to a piece of land placed under the custodianship of amakhosi, will be protected to posterity. On this one all AmaZulu and all those who support their worldview must set an example of preserving their God-given land with all their might," said Prince Thulani.

He said Abakhuseli Besihlalo will strive to achieve this preservation "for the sake of the next generation from our loins".

PODCAST | Why King Misuzulu and Prince Buthelezi dispute can lead to violence in KZN if not handled with care


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