A WEEK before the AbaThembu Royal House decided to recall its king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo launched a stinging attack on the government and Premier Noxolo Kiviet before hurling insults at President Jacob Zuma.
This emerged from a video recorded at the funeral of Mamqithi Liwani, the wife of AmaGcina chief at eMbinzana near Lady Grey three weeks ago. There Dalindyebo clearly broke ranks with Zuma, whom he had earlier endorsed to serve a second term – both as ANC and state president.
During his speech, the controversial monarch made it clear he did not approve of Zuma or his government and added if it was up to him, he would have recalled Zuma a long time ago. He also chastised the Thembus for electing “boys” and likened government leaders to cats who feed on milk when cows are starving due to drought.
“You have this most senior councillor called the president. It’s unfortunate that you voted for these leaders. If I had powers to pick and choose who must become the country’s president, I would have recalled the current one [ Zuma ] long ago.”
Yesterday, the Dispatch revealed that his future as royal head of the Thembu nation hangs in the balance after the AbaThembu royal committee wrote to Zuma , Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi, Eastern Cape premier Kiviet and local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane asking them to replace Dalindyebo with someone whose conduct was befitting of the high office.
Kiviet’s office had not replied to questions at the time of going to press, and neither had Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj.
It is not clear whether Dalindyebo’s latest outburst had anything to do with the decision of the Royal House.
In a video recording of the funeral, which can be watched on the Daily Dispatch website, Dalindyebo can be heard lashing out at the AbaThembu nation for failing to criticise the ANC-led government.
“BaThembu, you have a tendency to watch boys playing with food while the poor are starving. You have a tendency to entertain young boys disrespecting older people,” he said.
Dalindyebo equated the waste of state resources to how people would allow a cat to drink milk while cows are saving it to feed their calves. Speaking in Xhosa, he said: “Ninaso isimbo sokubukela ikati ixhaph’ubisi kodwa inkomo sisaqhaga.”
Next he took a swipe at the premier, whom he accused of failing to respect him as the king.
“I have been a king through my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father. But all of a sudden, a newly-elected councillor called the premier expects me to respect her, instead of her showing respect to [the] king,” he said.
Senior government officials present at the funeral, including Intsika Yethu mayor Koliswa Vimbayo, walked out of the venue while Dalindyebo was still speaking.
The king accused government for failing to investigate all ills reported to state organs, even though it were the ordinary people who were paying taxes. Dalindyebo mentioned the Marikana massacre in which 29 Eastern Cape citizens died.
Instead of helping the affected families heal, Dalindyebo said the government donated 10 coffins.
“Be warned! Sometimes your support may be unwelcome if you consider the poor backgrounds that these deceased miners come from,” said Dalindyebo.
AmaGcina chief Thembalakhe Liwane said they invited him to speak at the funeral out of respect. “However, his decision to turn the funeral into a political event was informed by the challenges the king faces,” said Liwani.
“Zwelibanzi [king Dalindyebo] has a reason to be angry. Many of us are angry about how our government is doing things. Beneficiaries of the apartheid system are still being prioritised.”
However, AbaThembu royal family chairman Prince Thanduxolo Mtirara said: “We have written letters to him [Dalindyebo], urging him to refrain from what he’s doing. The alleged attack on the state president is uncalled for.”