| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

South Africa’s Zulu king’s spokesperson denies ‘poisoning’ reports

The spokesperson for South Africa’s Zulu king has refuted reports suggesting that Misuzulu Zulu, the leader of the country’s prominent traditional monarchy, was suspected of being poisoned.
Overnight on Saturday, the Zulu prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said in a press release that the monarch had been hospitalised in the neighbouring country of Eswatini after falling ill. However, the king’s spokesperson said that he was in “perfect health”.

The monarch was currently not in the hospital, and “unnecessary panic” should not be created, Prince Africa Zulu said, in what appeared to be an indirect reference to Chief Buthelezi’s statement.

The king believed he was being poisoned after the sudden and unexpected death of one of his close advisers on Saturday, he said.

The statement claimed that the king sought medical treatment in Eswatini — a small landlocked country in the region —instead of South Africa, as he felt uncomfortable seeking treatment there.

“He immediately sought out medical treatment in Eswatini. I am informed that His Majesty felt uncomfortable seeking treatment in South Africa, as his parents had both received treatment in South Africa and subsequently died,” Buthelezi said.

“It is understood that His Majesty is under medical care and is doing well. Further information will be conveyed when it becomes available,” added Buthelezi.
The claim was made after one of the king’s senior advisors also died under suspicious circumstances, believed to be a result of poisoning.

While the Zulu king’s role holds limited political power and is primarily ceremonial within South African society, he wields significant influence, with an annual government-funded budget of several million dollars.
King Misuzulu’s coronation took place in November 2022, with thousands of subjects in attendance.
But his coronation came amid a fierce power struggle that ensued within the royal family regarding the 48-year-old king’s ascent to the throne.
A faction within the royal family continues to challenge King Misuzulu’s claim to the throne in court, arguing that he is not the rightful heir of his late father, King Goodwill Zwelithini.

It maintains that another son of the late king, Prince Simakade, should assume the role of monarch.

King Zwelithini had six wives and at least 26 children. Furthermore, King Zwelithini’s will has been contested in court by his first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu, and her two daughters.

But King Misuzulu’s ascension to the throne has been deemed unexpected and sudden.

His father passed away in March 2021 during the Covid pandemic due to complications related to diabetes. King Misuzulu’s mother, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, briefly served as regent but passed away a month later.

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