Buckley, who is originally from KwaZulu-Natal, returns to South Africa after 17 years in Europe, where he has featured mostly in Germany, but also Switzerland and Cyprus.
It also reunites the player with coach Ernst Middendorp, who he has previously played for at Bochum and Arminia Bielefeld in Germany, and briefly at Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta in the 2009/10 season.
It will be the first time that Buckley has played in the South African domestic game, having previously told KickOff.com that he would like to finish his career in Mzansi.
Now 34 years old, that seems likely to be the case after joining Maritzburg as a free agent following the relegation of German Bundesliga II side Karlsruher at the end of last season.
Buckley won international 72 caps, scoring 10 goals, during a decade with the South African national team from 1998 to 2008.
Yende had found opportunities limited at Chiefs since a 2009 move from University of Pretoria and his exit from Naturena was widely expected.
He will now get the opportunity to rebuild his career in KwaZulu-Natal, with the 28-year-old likely to be handed a playmaker role.
Maritzburg have also brought on board forward Smeekes, who has knocked out the lower leagues of Holland and Germany during his career.
Finally, Maritzburg have also confirmed that Umbro will be their new kit sponsors for the 2012/13 season.