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HomePoliticsZulu King abandons palace to take refuge in a Pongolo private property

Zulu King abandons palace to take refuge in a Pongolo private property

..Buthelezi breathes hot air over King Misuzulu’s capture

AmaZulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s refusal to live in a palace has put him at odds with senior members of the royal family, including traditional prime minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The Sunday Times can reveal that the king has been staying at a home owned by ANC benefactor and property mogul Edward Ngwenya, in Phongolo, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Buthelezi confirmed to the Sunday Times that he was unhappy with King Misuzulu’s continued stay at Ngwenya’s house and said he had made his reservations known.

“All the senior members of the royal family, which include the matriarch, Queen Mavis maZungu, Prince Philemon and myself, have told the king that we do not approve of him staying in that house in Phongolo. There is a palace available to him that was erected for his mother when she married the late king,” said Buthelezi.

Insiders in the royal palace said the king’s decision to occupy Ngwenya’s house was one of the reasons for strained relations with Buthelezi.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recognised King Misuzulu as the legitimate monarch after months of wrestling over the position within the royal family. Some family members preferred Prince Simakade. King Misuzulu has not been installed officially as his coronation was postponed after floods in KwaZulu-Natal killed more than 400 people.

Buthelezi has been in King Misuzulu’s corner since the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini two years ago. But royal family insiders said a number of developments, including the king’s choice of accommodation, had revealed cracks in their bond.

It is believed Buthelezi prefers that the king move to a state-owned house — previously occupied by the late former KwaZulu-Natal premier Lionel Mtshali — just a stone’s throw away from his home in Ulundi.

Royal family insiders said the home was recently furnished with the help of a KwaZulu-Natal businessman with a long-standing relationship with the royal family, at Buthelezi’s request. 

“The house is now fit for a king but Misuzulu does not want to move there — he likes Phongolo where he now stays because it gives him some breathing room and independence from these elders who are suffocating him,” an insider close to the king said.

The house is now fit for a king but Misuzulu does not want to move there

Insider

“Shenge (Buthelezi) refuses to even meet Misuzulu at that house — he says he will not dignify it with his presence,” the insider said. “Buthelezi is unhappy with Misuzulu staying there because he can’t control Misuzulu from there. [The king] gets to enjoy the life of his peers, there are no formalities, there isn’t even an induna ye isigodlo.”

But Buthelezi said he had been told an induna was stationed at Ngwenya’s house. He said there was nothing wrong with suggesting King Misuzulu occupy the Ulundi home. 

“The late King Goodwill Zwelithini, his majesty’s father, already occupied the house in question in Ulundi. When he passed away, we had to remove some of his belongings to the palace to make way for the present king to occupy that house..”

Buthelezi would not be drawn to talk about who had forked out the money to furnish the Ulundi home. 

“As far as my relationship with this businessman is concerned, both my family and his family have served the kings and the royal family for generations. His family served previous kings from King Cetshwayo onwards.

“I have a photograph of his grandfather with King Solomon, shortly after the installation of the king. As far as his expenditure is concerned, I would advise you to direct your questions to him regarding what he has spent money on and why,” he said.

Royal family insiders said Buthelezi was concerned about a king accepting favours from businessmen.

“Ngwenya gave Misuzulu that house very early — I think the issue is that he did not consult Buthelezi, and Buthelezi is an elder. He knows there is nothing for free so he is also concerned about what Ngwenya wants from Misuzulu,” an insider said. 

Ngwenya told the Sunday Times he wasn’t an ANC activist but a mere supporter and that his intentions were pure. 

“This is a surprise for me because I gave him accommodation because there was a need. He was staying in hotels and there was no stability and dignity in that — he wasn’t even king then so I am surprised anyone would question my intentions all of a sudden. I want nothing in return, I am just helping.”  

Ngwenya said he respects Buthelezi and wasn’t aware that he was not pleased with him accommodating the king.

The king’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu, said when King Misuzulu was appointed he was living away from home for his safety.

“The elders are against the king staying at that house because there is a house that was given to the late king in Ulundi — it has now been renovated because the elders don’t want him far away.”  

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