South Africa’s Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is being treated in hospital for suspected poisoning, his traditional prime minister has said.
The king sought medical attention in Eswatini as he is uncomfortable with seeking treatment in South Africa, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi added.
This follows the sudden death of one of his senior advisers, also of suspected poisoning, Chief Buthelezi said.
However, the king’s official spokesman said he was in “perfect health”.
The monarch was currently not in hospital, and “unnecessary panic” should not be created, Prince Africa Zulu said, in what appeared to be an indirect reference to Chief Buthelezi’s statement.
King Misuzulu was crowned in front of thousands of his subjects last October.
But a vicious power struggle has been raging within the royal family over the 48-year-old’s accession, and tensions have also recently surfaced between the monarch and Chief Buthelezi.
The Zulu king does not have formal political power and the monarch’s role within broader South African society is largely ceremonial, but he remains hugely influential with a yearly government-funded budget of several million dollars.
A faction within the family is challenging his claim to the throne in court, insisting that he is not the rightful heir of his late father, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
They insist that another son of the late king, Prince Simakade, should be the monarch.
King Zwelithini had six wives and at least 26 children.
His will has also been challenged in court by his first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu, and her two daughters.-BBC-