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Mgilija was still Zulu regiments commander, says family

The late induna Zihogozelanga Mgilija Nhleko who died on Monday.

The late induna Zihogozelanga Mgilija Nhleko who died on Monday.

Published Nov 10, 2021

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DURBAN - The family of the late induna Zihogozelanga “Mgilija” Nhleko has disputed that he was no longer the Zulu regiment’s commander.

The induna’s brother Seth Nhleko told the Daily News on Wednesday that his brother was never removed by King Misuzulu as the commander of Amabutho, so at the time of his death, he was still the leader.

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“What I know is that the Osuthu headmen council made a proposal to the king as the one who appoints commanders to remove my brother, but the king has not yet taken that decision. Therefore, my brother died as a leader of Amabutho.

“As a family, we feel we must correct the confusion that was created, and we have seen media reports referring to my late brother as a former commander. We do not know where that came,” said Nhleko.

He added that during Umkhosi woMhlanga at Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma in September, King Misuzulu made an announcement that he would not be removing anyone who was appointed by his late father, King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Although Mgilija did not attend the event as he was already unwell, Nhleko said the general understanding was that the king was including him because he had never announced that he had removed him.

His sentiments were echoed by Injeje yabeNguni council leader Phumlani Mfeka, who said his council regarded the late induna as the commander of Amabutho, which was why it called on the provincial government to honour him with the state funeral.

Mfeka said if it was true that Mgilija was removed from his position, the king would have appointed the new commander by now.

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Senior royal member Prince Mbonisi Zulu also said that at the time of Mgilija’s death, he was still the commander of Amabutho, adding that there was no new commander that had been appointed. Attempts to get comment from the king’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu, were unsuccessful.

Mgilija was reportedly fired as the commander after taking Amabutho Nkandla to support former president Jacob Zuma during his imminent arrest in July. He was accused of doing so without the king’s permission as the commander in chief of the Zulu regiments. He died at a hospital in Richards Bay on Monday after falling ill in July.

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