Durban — The apparent long-standing division within King Misuzulu’s office played out in the open on Tuesday after both regiment commanders, Prince Vanana Zulu and Prince Simphiwe Zulu, allegedly prevented the king’s spokesperson, Prince Africa Zulu, from updating amabutho on the representations by attorneys in court.
The incident, which nearly caused a commotion between Prince Africa and the two leaders, took place outside the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria after the adjournment of the Zulu kingship case. When Africa shouted Zulu! Zulu! preparing to give updates, Prince Vanana started a war cry song apparently in defiance of Prince Africa, then started moving with amabutho towards Prince Africa.
They moved towards the court entrance and while this was happening Prince Simphiwe was next to Prince Vanana, moving with amabutho.
They claimed to want to be addressed by the lawyers but in the end it was Prince Simphiwe who finally gave an update on Tuesday’s proceedings in the presence of the lawyers who “didn’t understand isiZulu”.
Reacting to the incident, Prince Africa said it was disappointing to see the senior leaders in the king’s office behaving in this manner, especially the recently appointed regiment commander, Prince Vanana.
“This speaks to discipline and respect and leaves questions on how he would command amabutho if he behaves in this manner. He disrespected the king and the Zulu nation. I believed they had planned this defiance and did not want me to give an update. It is my responsibility as head of communication and stakeholder relations to do that. Even if they wanted to give an update themselves, they should have informed me instead of behaving as if we are competing,” said Prince Africa.
According to sources in the king’s office, there is a power struggle over who should work closely with the king.
Prince Simphiwe said anyone who concluded that they (him and Prince Vanana) were preventing Prince Africa from speaking was probably drunk.
The matter was adjourned until today (Wednesday), when the king’s attorney will wrap up his representation.
Inside court, the king’s attorneys appeared to have the backing of Judge Norman Davis, who seemed to agree with their representations.
In what seemed to be an indirect dismissal of both Prince Mbonisi and Prince Simakade’s applications that the late Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi was not supposed to play a role in the succession process, Judge Davis described Buthelezi as the custodian of the Zulu culture.
The judge’s comments were in sharp contrast to the representations by the legal teams of Prince Mbonisi and Prince Simakade on Monday, who argued that Buthelezi was not the right person to chair the meetings of the Zulu royal family.
Judge Davis said Buthelezi was a custodian of the Zulu culture, so anyone who wanted to know something about Zulu culture would go to him.
This was well received by the king’s supporters, seated on the left side of the court. The judge also seemed to agree with the king’s attorneys that Buthelezi’s affidavit, which he filed during the Pietermaritzburg High Court case, has more or less the same content as the unsigned affidavit that Buthelezi had died having not signed.
This appeared to be a blow to the other side since they were banking on it to bolster their case. Advocate Moerane Moerane SC, representing President Cyril Ramaphosa, appeared to have done work for the king’s lawyers.
Moerane appeared to be punching a lot of holes in the applicant’s representations, which the judge appeared to be agreeing with.
The May 2021 letter by Prince Simakade to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in which he publicly said he has no interest in the Zulu throne, has come back to haunt him and soil his court case, where he is seeking to dethrone King Misuzulu.
The letter by Prince Simakade is now part of the court records in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg and official royal press statement records. It has also been used to show he initially knew he had no legitimate claim to the Zulu throne.
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