South Africa: Buthelezi On Warpath After Snub At King’s Gala Dinner

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has slammed the ANC government for excluding him from the gala dinner held after King Misuzulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini’s coronation on Saturday.

He addressed the media virtually on Tuesday in his capacity as the traditional prime minister of the Zulu monarch.

“This is part of the ANC’s vendetta against me,” said the 94-year-old politician.

The gala dinner that was attended by among others President Cyril Ramaphosa and former president Jacob Zuma, was held at the ICC in Durban.

The animated Buthelezi said even King Mswati III, King Misuzulu’s uncle, expressed his regrets following his snubbing at the gala dinner.

Despite the snub, Buthelezi said he still enjoys warm relationships with some ANC leaders, including Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

On the inclusion of religious leaders on the programme, Buthelezi said there was nothing untoward about it.

“I have no regrets about the Anglican ritual. Everything was performed meticulously, and the king is a Christian,” said Buthelezi.

He was responding to the uproar over the inclusion of the Anglican archbishop Thabo Makgoba on the programme – who touched the king on the head when he performed a ritual on King Misuzulu during the coronation.

It is unheard of for a Zulu king to be touched on the head – which is seen as undermining or belittling the king.

However, Buthelezi said the ritual was okayed by King Misuzulu.

“His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini, the king’s late father, was a member of the Anglican Church. Indeed, the Royal Family has been part of the Anglican Church since my grandfather, King Dinuzulu’s exile on the Island of St Helena, where he became an Anglican,” said Buthelezi.

Buthelezi, the emeritus president of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), also rubbished claims that he was using his proximity to the king to benefit the IFP in elections.

He said the IFP which has been faring well in by-elections does not need King Misuzulu to woo voters.

Meanwhile, Prince Simakade, who is challenging King Misuzulu’s ascendency to the throne, has indicated that he would be holding a media briefing on Sunday, at a venue that is yet to be announced.

This is another indication that the battle for the Zulu throne is not yet over despite King Misuzulu’s coronation which cemented his long journey to leading an 11-million-strong Zulu nation.

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