Durban — With a month to go to an all-important court battle to defend his throne in the North Gauteng High Court, King Misuzulu was recently served with an R8 million bill in unpaid fees by his legal firm, Strauss Daly.
It is alleged that after several unsuccessful attempts to get the king to settle the debt, the firm turned to the Ingonyama Trust Board, which was able to pay only R3m.
The trust board’s assistance appeared to be insufficient as the current balance was said to be a whopping R8m.
A source in the royal family, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said there were fears that the legal team might abandon the king and not represent him in a kingship case against the royal faction that was challenging his appointment.
Strauss Daly’s attorney Andile Khoza confirmed that the king’s legal team was owed R8m. Khoza, however, assured the king and the Zulu nation that although they needed the money, they would never abandon the king but would keep on fighting until the end.
Nhlanhla Mtaka, who was announced by the king during the opening of the provincial House of Traditional Leaders in Ulundi a few weeks ago as the head of the king’s office, said the matter was not in his office and referred queries to the provincial government, which has the support of the office of the king.
The premier’s spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana, said: “The premier is not involved in the processing of payments as this is an administrative function. Any matter about payments of any nature will be addressed by the accounting officer with the parties concerned as per the standard operating procedure.”
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s spokesperson, Liezl van der Merwe, said the issue of fees owed by clients to attorneys was a matter between the client and attorney and therefore should not concern the media nor does it affect Buthelezi.
The manager in the king’s office, Sbongile Mdletshe, told the Daily News to ask the person who had said the king owed money as she didn’t know anything.
A court application to set aside the recognition of King Misuzulu has been set down for May 31 to June 2 in the Pretoria High Court when the court will hear another application challenging the coronation, asking for it to be declared unlawful.
The faction that challenges the king’s appointment said it was emboldened by the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa had ignored the report headed by former KZN premier Willies Mchunu, which recommended a further investigation.
Prince Thokozani, a leader of the faction, said Mchunu’s report which they obtained through their legal team did not say that King Misuzulu must be the king but recommended that there should be further investigation. In terms of the law, he said, after the mediation had failed, the government had to institute an investigation, which the president had ignored.
The Prince Simakade faction’s main argument is that the royal family – on May 14, 2021, when the late king’s will was read – was not properly constituted as the people who attended were not bona fide Zulu royal family members.
Prince Thokozani said the process at that meeting was completely flawed as the king’s wives, some of his children and senior royal family members were not present.
Another argument put forward by the faction is that Prince Simakade was traditionally adopted by the late queen Mantfombi as her son.
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