Only six 'real' Kings in SA

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pretoria - A commission appointed to probe issues of traditional leadership in South Africa has found that there are only six "legitimate" kingships in the country, President Jacob Zuma announced on Thursday.

The announcement follows recommendations made by a panel of experts appointed by former President Thabo Mbeki in 2003 to investigate traditional leadership disputes and claims in South Africa dating back to 1927.

It found that out of the 12 paramount kingships in the country, only six qualified to be recognised as Kings, Kingships or Queens.

Zuma, however, stressed that the decision does not mean the traditional leaders, who are currently serving, will immediately be dethroned but the process will be implemented over time.

The other six royals will come to an end on the death of the current incumbents in the positions.

The recognised royalties are that of AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, Amaxhosa King Zwelonke Sigcawu, Amapondo King Zanokuko Tyelovuyo Sigcawu all from the Eastern Cape. In Kwazulu Natal, King Goodwill Zwelithini of Amazulu has been recognised as the only legitimate King while Bapedi's King Thulare Victor Thulare is the recognised leader in Limpopo.

Zuma said two kingships have also been recognised, but the commission must still decide who the rightful incumbencies are. These are Amandebele from the leadership of King Makhosonke Mabhena of Mpumalanga and Vhavenda King Mphephu Ramabulane. They will be decided by a new commission to be established soon.

Zuma added that while the six kingships will be phased out when the incumbents die, the successors will be recognised by relevant premiers as "principal traditional leaders".

He urged the affected communities to accept the commission's findings, saying the new traditional leadership structure aimed at "correcting the wrongs of the past".

"It enables us to restore dignity to the institution of traditional leadership. The commission has confirmed facts that have been generally known all along," he said.

Over the years the institution of traditional leadership has been undermined through several apartheid legislations. "The regime created its own leadership at the expense of authentic leadership and we want to correct that," the President said.

The President could not say when the new commission, which will probe outstanding matters, will begin its work.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has welcomed the findings. "We will definitely accept the decisions made because it gives us an idea of where government sits on this matter," said the organisation's president Chief Patekile Holomisa. He said the organisation will be calling a meeting of all its members to discuss the way forward.