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King's Order: Withdraw Nkhaba dispute from court

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MBABANE – His Majesty King Mswati III has ordered that the Nkhaba case be withdrawn from the High Court with immediate effect.

The Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini yesterday delivered the message to Judge Bheki Maphalala and lawyers in his chambers, just before the case was to resume for closing submissions.

A meeting, which lasted for about 45 minutes instead took place in the Judge’s chambers, while the disputing factions waited outside court.

Two factions claiming to the rightful leaders of the Nkhaba Chief-dom have been in a court wrangle for the past five years now.

The factions, one led by Dikida Shabangu and the other by Absalom Shabangu each claiming to be the legitimate Chief’s Headman, had their inner councils and followers, which they argued was legitimate. The dispute arose after the death of Nkhaba Chief Prince Bhekimpi in 1999.

Discussions

The Attorney General arrived at the High Court, just before 10am and had brief discussions with the lawyers, Mbuso Simelane and Sabelo Masuku, before they headed for the Judge’s chambers.

Simelane represented Absalom Shabangu’s faction, while Dikida was represented by Masuku.

The Attorney General, in an interview, refused to state what was being discussed, but referred this reporter to the lawyers for the two factions.

"It is true, I had come to court in relation to the Nkhaba issue but it would not be proper for me to comment. Go and ask the lawyers," Dlamini said.

Confirmed

Abraham Dlamini, one of the members of the Nkhaba family council, in an interview and in the Dikida faction, confirmed that the Attorney General had gone to convey the King’s Order that the case should be withdrawn from the High Court.

"His Majesty has issued an order that the case would now be deliberated upon in the traditional structures.

"We will, next week, go and meet his Majesty the King (Kuyo-bonga), thereafter we will know what would be the next step," Abraham said.

Abraham also expressed happiness that the matter had been withdrawn from the High Court. He said it was the Absalom Shabangu led faction that had brought the matter to court, despite their advice that it fell under the traditional structures’ jurisdiction.

Deliberated

A source close to the Nkhaba family council, who however spoke on condition of anonymity, said the King’s Order was that the matter should only be deliberated by the Ludzidzini Council chaired by acting Governor Timothy Velabo (TV) Mtetwa. He said the King was not pleased that the matter was now being dealt with in Courts when it has not been finalised in the traditional structures.

The case eventually never proceeded yesterday and the parties were told to disperse. The parties had already closed their case and the lawyers were expected to make closing submissions.

Throughout the case, Judge Maphalala maintained that he was to determine which inner council and Chief’s Headman was legitimate between the disputing factions.

Jurisdiction

He stressed that it was not the court’s jurisdiction to deal with who was going to be Chief of Nkhaba after the death of Prince Bhekimpi in 1999. He said as per the Constitution, it was the King who appointed Chiefs.

The dispute divided the Nkhaba family council (Lusendvo) and led to the community being divided into two factions.

Each faction of the family council appointed its own Indvuna and inner council (bandlancane).

...judge wanted three more suspects to testify

MBABANE – Judge Bheki Maphalala had called
three more witnesses to testify in the Nkhaba case, that was however, withdrawn.

These were supposed to be Court witnesses to give clarity on what they knew and what role they had played in the Nkhaba case.

These were Prince Mahlaba, the late Nkhaba Chief Prince Chief Bhekimpi’s wife LaNco-ngwane and Princess Senteni the deceased’s sister.

Withdrawn

 

However, this was not to be as the case was withdrawn albeit through an order from his Majesty King Mswati III.

Prince Mahlaba had not arrived at the High Court when the message was conveyed to the disputing parties.

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