Setback for 'Emperor Thembu II' Majola's vast land claim
AbaThembu have been ordered to get their house in order and unite.
This follows a hearing in Mthatha on Wednesday where a select committee on petitions and executive undertakings — which falls under the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) — met Votani Majola, who had filed a petition through Thembi Tembe, a chief protocol officer of the Thembuland royal empire, in December.
The petition urges the government to intervene in respect of alleged prejudice against a “Thembuland royal empire” on land restitution. It argues the justice system is flawed and sabotages socio-economic development projects initiated by the Thembuland royal empire.
Majola — who calls himself Emperor Thembu II of the AbaThembu royal empire — says he represents AbaThembu from all nine provinces, and that every bit of land in SA belongs to AbaThembu.
However, committee chairperson Zukiswa Ncitha said the information they had received in the petition document was distorted. The committee rescheduled the meeting, which was supposed to be a two-day hearing, to next month.
“When we listened to the presentation he [Majola] made, it's broader than what was originally represented. Our preparation therefore had some shortfalls, which we think will disadvantage the people who were supposed to form part of this meeting.
“As parliament we have the right to listen to anyone; that is why we are listening to him. So our advice is go and put your house in order so that when we come back in 30 days, the same issues are not raised again.
Majola said: “We believe the process that government is taking is not going to help us as AbaThembu, because historically, all nine provinces belong to the nation of AbaThembu.
“The process of land claims prejudices our people. We have given submissions to the commission on how to fast-track the process of land claims.”
He said parliament was stalling the process as they should have come up with an amendment act last year.
But Nkosi Bhovulengwe Mtirara, who was also at the meeting, said as a traditional leader, he distanced himself from the petition. “There is no way that I can claim all of SA. I know my jurisdiction,” he said. “This is not the first time this thing is happening. It happened in 2006. Even then, I distanced myself from it.
“Zanelizwe [acting AbaThembu king Azenathi Dalindyebo] has no signature on that petition as the representative [leader of AbaThembu].” Majola was not even a chief of AbaThembu, he added.
NCOP committee member Thabiso Wana said: “I don’t know, this petitioner [Majola] is using his profession. Because he is a lawyer, he has collected all these grievances. The issue of the provinces is questionable in itself.”
Land claims chief commissioner Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo said the first claim lodged by AbaThembu in 1998 had been dismissed as the dispossession happened in the 1800s and the land claim law caters only for those dispossessed after 1910.
Another claim, filed by now-jailed king Buyel'Ekhaya Dalindyebo in 2014, has not yet been looked at.
“We are unable to say whether the new claim will pass or not.”