DURBAN - THE Zulu royal family faction that is opposed to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini ascending to the throne says that the matter is far from over.
Prince Mbonisi Zulu’s lawyer told The Mercury that some members of the royal family did not accept President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to endorse King Misuzulu as the rightful heir to the Zulu throne.
Advocate Peter Zwane said that while he did not want to pre-empt the next move by the “royal rebels”, there was unhappiness over the decision.
“My client is not happy at all about the decision, and I am now getting ready to take instructions from him regarding the next step,” he said. Zwane dismissed earlier media reports that said the prince had accepted the president’s announcement.
“What was meant there was that the announcement had been heard from the president, but not that it had been accepted. My client is unhappy,” the advocate said.
University of KwaZulu-Natal cultural expert Professor Sihawu Ngubane said the rebels were exercising their right to appeal against Ramaphosa’s announcement.
“They have every right to appeal and challenge the president’s announcement. Maybe they have reasons that none of us are aware of,” said Ngubane.
He said it was clear that the president had considered the presentations from Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
“What this means is that there is no turning back, the preparations for the coronation should proceed because now in every respect the king is recognised by law,” Ngubane said, pointing out that the announcement also presented an opportunity for the Zulu nation to heal from the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
The academic stressed that while the appeal by the other factions could drag for a while, this would not impede the coronation process.
Ramaphosa’s announcement has been widely welcomed across the country, with the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal sending a congratulatory message to the king.
“The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to officially recognise the Amazulu King. Bayede Wena WeNdlovu,” said ANC KZN spokesperson Ntombela.
The DA in KZN also welcomed the president’s recognition of the Zulu monarch.
“We would like to extend our wellwishes to the Zulu monarch as he prepares for his formal coronation as the Zulu king. The DA reaffirms it’s full support to the monarch, and hopes that the coronation of the king is held without any further delays by the provincial government,” said party leader Francois Rodgers.
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza also hailed the president’s announcement.
“This legal recognition by President Cyril Ramaphosa marks an important era for the Zulu nation, the people who live under the Ingonyama Trust
Nhlakanipho land, as well as the finalisation of the appointment of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which is currently under way” said Didiza.
She described the announcement as a milestone that would benefit the Zulu nation.
“I look forward to working closely with His Majesty to improve the lives of ordinary people living under the Ingonyama Trust-held land,” said Didiza.
Royal house spokesperson Prince Africa Zulu expressed the royal family’s gratitude, saying the announcement marked a new era that would bring peace and prosperity to all the citizens of KZN.
He said a royal committee would be set up soon to deal with coronation plans that would involve the provincial government.
“The family, under the leadership of its prime minister, HRH 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,” said the prince.
He pointed out that while there had been a battle over succession, Ramaphosa’s announcement was a victory for the people, adding that the king was committed to reconciliation with all family members.
“His Majesty’s arms are still open for those family members who are committed to reconciliation, and to starting the process of rebuilding the Zulu nation together.”
Plans for the coronation are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.