Durban — About 3 000 amabutho (Zulu regiments) and maidens are expected to descend on Pretoria to support King Misuzulu’s court battle with his half-brother Prince Simakade Zulu.
The long-awaited trial will run from Monday to Wednesday next week. It is expected to put to bed the protracted battle over who is the rightful heir to succeed the late King Zwelithini as Zulu king.
King Misuzulu and Prince Simakade are both biological sons of the late king from different mothers.
In a letter penned by the king’s office to the Tshwane Municipality, the office said it would be busing amabutho to attend the court case so it was requesting an open field or hall around the court precinct with the capacity for 3000 people.
“The Zulu king, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, has tasked us to request the following from your honourable city in preparation for the Zulu royal house case to be held at Pretoria High Court as dates above (16, 17 and 18 October 2023).
“A hall that can accommodate at least about 2 000 to a maximum of 3 000 people in the city centre or an open space where tents of such maximum people can be erected. The place will be accommodating Zulu regiments and maidens from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng who will be there in support of the Zulu king,” read the letter.
It emphasised that the place should be in the central business district, at least no more than 3km from the court since amabutho will be walking to the court for three consecutive days. The letter added that four buses and several taxis with their number still to be confirmed would be coming from KwaZulu-Natal.
The king’s office requested permission to slaughter four cows, which will be skinned and prepared in that space for consumption by amabutho.
King Misuzulu’s head of communications and stakeholder relations Prince Africa Zulu confirmed that a big number of amabutho will be travelling to Pretoria to support their king in his battle with Prince Simakade.
He said that the king’s office was in constant contact with Tshwane Municipality authorities.
Meanwhile, both factions oozed confidence of coming back victorious when talking to the Daily News on Monday, both saying they already smelled victory.
Prince Africa said King Misuzulu regards the trial as a formality since he is already the reigning king. He said the court process was to put a stamp on the decision that was taken by the government to issue a certificate after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that King Misuzulu was the rightful heir.
He said the Zulu royal family still maintains that King Misuzulu was not appointed by a meeting on May 14 but became the king immediately after the death of the late King Zwelithini.
He cited two important historical cultural practices which determined a successor to the throne in the Zulu kingdom. According to the prince, the paying of lobola for the king’s mother by the nation and the fact that she was royal herself made the current king an automatic choice to succeed his father. The late king’s mother, Queen Mantfombi, was King Mswati’s sister.
“For us, royal family meetings that always follow after the death of the reigning monarch are always mere formalities just to confirm what we already know and no judge is expected to ignore that and rely on affidavits and meetings,” said Prince Zulu.
Speaking on behalf of Prince Simakade, Prince Thokozani Zulu said his side has always been confident that they have a very strong case and were adamant of victory. He said Prince Simakade’s argument was strong in that President Cyril Ramaphosa had no right to choose who should be the king of the Zulu royal family on the basis of the meeting that took place on May 14, 2021, since the meeting was not properly constituted.
“We want the court to set aside the president’s decision to issue the kingship certificate to Prince Misuzulu,” said Prince Thokozani.
Before the judge gets into the crux of the case, he will have to first rule whether the court will accept the late Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s unsigned affidavit that was submitted by King Misuzulu’s legal team in their answering affidavit. In their responding papers, Prince Simakade’s team objected to the use of the unsigned affidavit.
Tshwane Municipality could not be reached for comment by deadline.
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