Mourners have been asked to respect the special category 1 funeral for the late AmaMpondo King Zanozuko Tyelovuyo Sigcau after the service almost descended into chaos on Tuesday when a young man reminded the mourners that there was a court order in place.
Prince Mbasa Sigcau stood up and told Nokuzola Capa, deputy minister of agriculture, rural development and land reform, and programme director at the funeral: “You are being dishonest makhulu. There are a lot of dishonest people at this funeral including the government.
“The government knows the royal family that appointed the late king as the king of AmaMpondo. Today there are people here choosing to deal with other people who we don’t know.
“There is an acting king. I do apologise. Please can we correct a few things because there is a fear that if we do not present an opposing view, there will be a misconception with this whole mess that we are seeing here.
“The royal family have a view and that view must be respected. There is a court order and the minister of Cogta [co-operative governance and traditional affairs] and relevant people are aware of this. Please can we respect the royal family and I want to put it on public record: there is a legitimate royal family.”
He said the kingship was still being contested “and they are the ones that are alleging to be representing us. Please can we be honest about everything that is happening here.”
Prince Mbasa Sigcau was then whisked out of the packed marquee while the choir tried to drown out the commotion.
After a short break, a chaplain from the SANDF took the podium to call for peace, saying: “Any other concerns that we might have. It is proper that we conduct ourselves in the correct manner and just respect this ceremony. We are aware of the challenge, but I do not think that any of us would appreciate that their loved one be disrespected at this time.”
The chaplain said the concerns had been noted and would be dealt with.
On the eve of King Zanozuko’s burial, the family was locked in a bitter court dispute over who should be in charge of the burial rituals.
The AmaFaku royal family and acting king of the AmaMpondo, Prince Dumelani Sigcau, filed an urgent application before the high court in Mthatha on Monday evening, seeking to prevent the funeral of the late king from taking place without their involvement.
They wanted an order declaring them as the correct people and structure to oversee and perform all customary rituals during the burial or funeral service of the late king.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week declared a special official funeral category 1 for the king who died on May 31. Sigcau was inaugurated as king in 2018.
Ramaphosa, who attended the funeral, was among the respondents along with co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, premier Oscar Mabuyane and members of the royal family Stella Sigcau II and Nobandla Sigcau.
The AmaFaku royal family, which describes itself as the repository of AmaMpondo customary rituals, and the acting king, also sought to interdict Quma Funeral Undertakers in Lusikisiki from releasing the king’s remains for funeral and burial purposes to any person other than the AmaFaku royal family and the acting king, who will lead the procession to a place where the funeral is arranged to take place.