The row over the succession of the late chief Khayisa Ndiweni of Ntabazinduna who died in 2010 has reportedly spilled into the High Court, with the late chief’s eldest son, Jorum, seeking to annul the appointment of his youngest brother Nhlanhla as the chief, a development he describes as “unlawful” and “unprecedented”.
Nhlanhla, who resided in the United Kingdom, is said to have recently arrived in the country to assume the position of chief.
The late chief Ndiweni once served as the country's acting president in 1981 when the then president Canaan Banana was out of the country.
His widow, Agnes, has reportedly argued that her eldest son is incompetent and that it was her late husband’s wish that Nhlanhla succeeds him.
However, Jorum says the government did not follow the Traditional Leaders’ Act under which each community’s customs should be respected, as under the Nguni culture, he was supposed to succeed his father, adding if need be, his eldest son, Mhlambezi Ndiweni, could have been chief in his place.
He adds that his mother is relying on incorrect information about him from his closest relatives and siblings.
Cultural experts have expressed different views on the issue, with others supporting the eldest son and others saying customs can be altered if necessary.
Historian and cultural expert Peter Zwidekalanga Khumalo, a descendant of the late King Mzilikazi of the Ndebele, said the chief has a right to choose an heir from any of his children other than the eldest, depending on particular circumstances.