Tsholotsho — The heir apparent to Chief Mahlathini chieftaincy in Tsholotsho, Jabulani Jiyane has succumbed to Covid-19.
Jiyane, whose age could not be ascertained, was acting chief following the death of his father in 2018.
Chief Mahlathini's area borders with Chief Gampu on the southern side and Chief Deli of Nyamandlovu, in the neighbouring Umguza district on the north-eastern side.
Acting Tsholotsho district development coordinator Aaron Gono confirmed Jiyane's death in a short statement.
"On a very sad note, may I confirm the death of Mr Jabulani Jiyane (apparent heir to the Mahlathini Chieftainship). He passed away on 23 July 2021 in the early hours, at Tsholotsho Hospital. He was diabetic and at the time of his death, he was battling with Covid-19," said Gono.
He was yet to be installed following the death of the late chief in 2018.
There are six chiefdoms in Tsholotsho.
Chief Magama, also from Tsholotsho confirmed the death and said Jiyane's demise had saddened the whole community which was expecting him to be sworn in after being nominated by the family.
"It's so sad. We heard today (Friday) and we will see when we can go there. He had been nominated without any opposition and was the one in line for the next chief's post," said Chief Magama.
The Mahlathini chieftaincy was once under Chief Gampu where the late chief was a headman before being designated a separate chiefdom after Chief Gampu of Mbamba area acceded to him ascending to the throne in areas around wards 13 and 15.
His death comes a few days after the death of another traditional leader, and long-serving Chiredzi paramount chief, Chief Tshovani who also succumbed to Covid-19-related complications.