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SOUTH Coast Inkosi Melizwe Dlamini may have been warned about his ambitions to the throne, but that did not stop him from trying to rain on King Goodwill Zwelithini’s parade yesterday.
Dlamini, of the Nhlangwini clan, is the only inkosi in KwaZulu-Natal whose application to have his status elevated to kingship has been referred to a commission for further investigation and determination.
It was the first time that Dlamini had made an appearance at the annual opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature by King Goodwill Zwelithini.
If the Zulu monarch noticed, he did not show it.
A spokesperson for the royal family, Prince Mbonisi Zulu, said they were not bothered by Dlamini’s presence at yesterday’s function.
“Why should we be bothered by his presence? I am not sure whether the king saw him, but his presence had nothing to do with the royal family,” Zulu said.
According to a 2005 act of the KZN Legislature, King Goodwill Zwelithini is formally recognised as the monarch of the province.
But this did not deter Dlamini, who made a grand entrance, accompanied by a large entourage, who were transported to the venue in three minibuses and an assortment of private vehicles.
They included five amakhosi who serve under him and some of his isinduna (traditional headmen).
While the monarch this year opted for traditional garb, Dlamini copied his cousin’s sartorial splendour of old.
He was clad in a cream suit with gold trimmings and a huge leopard-skin belt.
He also sported a leopard-skin headgear and necklaces made up of lion teeth as well as a igwalagwala (purple-crested loerie-bird) feathers, which are reserved for royalty.
His spokesperson Inkosi Ambrose Makhoba, said it was the first time that Dlamini had attended the opening of the legislature, since he lodged an application to have his kingship recognised before the Nhlapo Commission in 2004. A new commission has been appointed after its term ended in June 2010 and Dlamini’s claim has yet to be finalised.
The relationship between Zwelithini and Dlamini remains strained.
Addressing the installation of Inkosi Bathebuya Cele near Nhlangwini, a few kilometres from Dlamini’s base recently, the king issued a stern warning to those he considered usurpers to the throne.
“Those who want what belongs to me will die,” he reportedly said.
Many interpreted this as a reference to Dlamini’s call for his chieftaincy to be elevated to the kingship.
After the king’s reported comments, Dlamini threatened that he would take legal action.
Makhoba said Dlamini was invited to the function by Legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.
He said Dlamini was delighted about the invitation.
Despite negative words from certain members of the provincial government, it showed Dlamini was still held in high esteem in some quarters.
Nkonyeni’s spokesperson, Wonder Hlongwa, said as far as he understood, Dlamini was invited by the legislature “like all amakhosi in the province through their district’s House of Traditional Leaders”.
On whether Dlamini had met the monarch yesterday, Makhoba said he had to rush to another function after the opening ceremony.
“He even skipped attending lunch despite having been invited among the VIP guests.”
Makhoba added that the Nhlangwini clan had written to the provincial government requesting a meeting to raise complaints about some MPLs who had publicly declared that there would only one king in the province.
“We regarded this as biasness [sic] on the part of the leaders who are expected to be impartial on this matter. Most of our letters were not responded to.
“In those that they responded to they said the matter was still being considered and up to this day they have not come back to us,” Makhoba said.
The province had also ignored a request for Dlamini to be provided with security, when threats were made against him in the media after it became public that he had applied for kingship status.• skhumbuzo.miya