The AbaThembu royal family imbizo held at Bumbane Great Place has resolved to remove Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo as king of AbaThembu and replace him with his son Azenathi.
“We, as AmaDlomo, have decided to elect Azenathi to be the king. We will communicate this decision with government on Monday,” royal family spokesperson Chief Dumisani Mgudlwa said on Friday.
The imbizo was called to discuss the ongoing feud between Dalindyebo and Prince Azenathi, who has been acting as regent after his father was jailed, serving four years for arson, kidnapping, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice. Dalindyebo was paroled in December.
The imbizo was attended by nearly 100 royals at the Great Place, 40km from Mthatha. Only 50 were allowed inside the main hall while the rest remained outside the hall, in line with Covid-19 safety protocols.
Mgudlwa said he has tried numerous times to talk peace between Dalindyebo and his son.
“Today’s imbizo has resolved to remove Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo as king of AbaThembu and replace him with his son Azenathi. They (AmaDlomo) are not happy with his behaviour and believe his jail time didn’t rehabilitate him. Many people want to leave the kingdom if Dalindyebo is reinstated as king. We couldn’t allow such to happen,” Mgudlwa said.
When TimesLIVE arrived at the Great Place, the mood was hostile.
Chief Mfundo Mtirara, who arrived late, was locked outside. However, he was allowed inside after a short negotiation.
Mgudlwa told TimesLIVE that Dalindyebo, accompanied by Mandla Mandela, arrived at the Great Place a day before the imbizo. They were prevented from gaining access.
“They were trying to stop the meeting from taking place, but did not succeed,” Mgudlwa said.
Dalindyebo did not attend the imbizo on Friday. Mgudlwa said he had been invited.
Azenathi was seen outside the meeting venue and in good spirits. He greeted the media but would not grant interviews.
Mgudlwa said Zwelibanzi, Dalindyebo’s royal name, had been asked many times to go to the Great Place for peace talks with his son, but refused.
“We wanted peace between him and his family, but talks ended with no agreement,” Mgudlwa said.
Mgudlwa acknowledged that Friday’s decision will further split the already divided family and create more hostility.
“There is no peace in AbaThembu nation. Even during Azenathi’s acting tenure there has been division. Dalindyebo’s father died in exile because there was no peace. This is not new,” Mgudlwa said.
He said they have taken a resolution to call for government to terminate Dalindyebo’s certificate of recognition.
Dalindyebo’s adviser and spokesperson, Babalo Papu, didn’t respond to questions sent to him.
The imbizo comes days after the Mthatha magistrate’s court postponed an assault case against Azenathi.
Papu opened a criminal case after he was allegedly assaulted by members of the royal family, including Azenathi.
Majiki is an Eastern Cape High Court judge and former wife of Dalindyebo.
Dalindyebo last month disowned Azenathi and his claim to the throne, demanding a paternity test.
Dalindyebo is also out on warning after he allegedly trespassed at the Bumbane Great Place palace in March, and allegedly threatened to used an axe to attack Azenathi.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the case was postponed to December 7 for further investigation.
Dalindyebo is currently staying at the Nkululekweni residence in Mthatha.
The family feud dates back to 2016 when Dalindyebo didn’t give Azenathi his blessings to act while he was incarcerated. Dalindyebo wanted his wife to act on his behalf.
Last month, the royal family, also known as the Ngangelizwe Royal Family, wrote to Xolile Nqatha, MEC of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, asking him to explain why Azenathi continued to receive a salary/stipend, a state-sponsored vehicle and other benefits, despite his acting period having lapsed on March 8.
Last Friday, at a press conference at Bumbane Great Place, Siganeko Dalindyebo confirmed that his nephew had been paid this month’s stipend.