DURBAN - Following official recognition by the government that he is the rightful successor to his late father, King Misuzulu has extended an olive branch to the royal family members who were opposed to his appointment.
The king’s spokesperson, Prince Africa Zulu, told the Daily News on Thursday that the king would strive for unity within the royal family and was calling on those who were opposed to his appointment to let bygones be bygones and work together with him in building a strong Zulu nation.
The prince said it was important to understand that President Cyril Ramaphosa was interdicted at the same time as Premier Sihle Zikalala, which made it impossible for them to act at that stage. However, the royal family was grateful that after the court cleared the interdicts by the opposing side, the president did not waste any time in doing the right thing.
“It is also important to stress that His Majesty's arms are still open for those family members who are committed to reconciliation and to start the process of rebuilding the Zulu nation together. His Majesty's victory translated into a new era that will bring peace and prosperity to all the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Zulu.
The prince said that after Wednesday's announcement by the president officially recognising the king, the family had not wasted time and started planning for the coronation. He said the royal family would meet soon to institute a committee of royals under the king’s traditional prime minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, that would deal with coronation plans and liaise with provincial government.
“The family, under the leadership of Prince Mangosuthu should meet soon to finalise a credible structure that will oversee the coronation plans. It is true that the coronation is important, but it is still an event, so we need to look beyond the coronation event and tap into the real challenges facing our people.
“His Majesty has been called by fate to serve his people, so the true celebration will be when the king starts his task of greatly transforming this province.”
He added that a royal development agenda or a strategy by the royal house was required to serve as a framework for the Zulu nation.
He said there were a lot of issues on standby, like that of the Ingonyama Trust and the Royal Trust, which required serious reform by His Majesty. Putting an effective, efficient and impactful structure at the Ingonyama and the Royal trusts was crucial for livelihoods.
Zulu thanked Prince Buthelezi and the legal team and all others who took part in this historical battle.
The official recognition of the king was the culmination of a year-long, bruising battle over who was the rightful heir to the throne, which started immediately after the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini in March 2021. The situation was compounded by the death of regent Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu (the king’s mother) who was nominated through the late king’s will, but died just a month after the King Zwelithini’s death.
A faction led by the late king’s half-brother, Prince Mbonisi Zulu, vehemently opposed King Misuzulu’s appointment. The faction, which included the late king’s first wife and daughters, went to court arguing that the late king’s signature on the will had been forged.
Earlier this month, KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Mjabuliseni Madondo dismissed the applicants’ case.
Commenting for the first time since Ramaphosa officially recognised King Misuzulu, Inkosi Buthelezi said they welcomed the long-overdue process.
Buthelezi said the royal family was already working on an inclusive committee that will handle the much-awaited and historic coronation.
He made these revelations on Thursday while addressing the media in Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal on the sidelines of a memorial service for the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The service was organised by the Sivananda World Peace Foundation, and among those in attendance were senior royal family members such as Queen Mavis Zungu, the only surviving wife of the late King Bhekuzulu, Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza, one of the five widows of King Goodwill Zwelithini, and Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal house of traditional leaders.
Buthelezi told the media that preparations for the coronation would take weeks and it was a given that the preparations would involve the provincial and national governments. The official venue of the coronation is not yet decided.
“The royal family and the office of His Majesty the King have therefore availed ourselves to the president, as preparations begin for His Majesty’s coronation. As appropriate and traditionally done, a committee will be convened to attend to the necessary arrangements,” he said.
Independent Media understands that some within the royal family have proposed Osuthu royal residence, while others want it to be done at KwaKhangelamankengane palace, which is now the seat of royal power.
Zikalala said the long-awaited decision brings down the curtain on months of uncertainty over the issue of kingship following the untimely death of King Goodwill Zwelithini.
“This is indeed a seminal moment in the history of the Zulu nation. We call on everyone to accept the decision of the president and that we all unite behind the King and the entire royal family,” he said.
Also welcoming the recognition was Velenkosini Hlabisa, the president of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) who said his party started calling for the recognition so that the coronation process could go ahead.
“We request, therefore, for the government of KwaZulu-Natal to provide all the necessary resources for the coronation and ensure that all resources are provided to the King to execute his duties of the Zulu kingdom,” Hlabisa said.
Francois Rodgers, the leader of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal said that the DA reaffirmed its full support to the monarch and hoped that the coronation of the king is held without any further delays.
Prince Mbonisi Zulu confirmed that they are opposed to the recognition, and they are working on a plan to overturn it.
“We are being guided by our lawyers (on how to fight Ramaphosa’s decision), that’s all I can say,” said Prince Mbonisi, and referred further questions to their lawyer.