Following the announcement of the passing away of prince Lethukuthula Zulu, the police in Gauteng now believe that the Prince was murdered at his Northwold apartment on Friday afternoon.

Prince Lethukuthula, 50, was Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen Sibongile MaDlamini’s eldest son.

Police initially opened an inquest docket when his body was found by guards in his apartment on Friday. Prince Lethukuthula’s friend was sleeping in another bedroom in the house when the guards made the discovery.

Police said investigations were ongoing and information remained sketchy about the circumstances which could have led to his death.

However, on Monday afternoon, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said police were now investigating a murder docket after they became aware that money and valuables had been stolen from Prince Lethukuthula’s Graceland apartment in Northwold.

Peters said “The inquest docket that was opened at Honeydew SAPS on Friday afternoon, November 6, to further investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Prince Lethukuthula Zulu at Graceland Residential Complex in Northwold, has now been converted to a murder case based on preliminary evidence emerging from the initial investigation”.

She said police were awaiting the results of the post mortem to determine the cause of death of the Zulu Prince.

Peters also said police were now investigating theft charges as well as murder charges.

“A case of theft has also been opened for investigation alongside the murder case following reports that a number of valuables and an undisclosed amount of cash had been stolen.

She said “Police are appealing to anyone who may have information that could assist in this investigation, to contact Honeydew SAPS or their nearest police station, or call the Crime Stop number 08600 10111”.

Prince Lethukuthula’s death was announced on behalf of the king by former IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is a cousin to the king.

He said in a statement last week “The Zulu Royal Family and the Zulu Nation grieve this sudden and un­expected loss”.

The IFP leader said arrangements for the funeral would be announced in due course. “For now, our deepest sympathies and support are with His Majesty and the Royal Family.”

Prince Lethukuthula’s death comes at a time when the king was still in mourning after the death of his brother, Prince Mandla Zulu, who died in August, as well as the death of two princesses, Nobuhle and Busi, who lived at Mbele­beleni royal residence in KwaMashu, Durban.

It was not clear what had caused their deaths.

The king is also grieving the death of his sister, Queen Noloyiso Sandile (born princess Nomusa Zulu), who was the queen regent of the AmaRharhabe Monarch of Maxhob’ayakhawuleza Sandile in the Eastern Cape.