High-profile Zulu royal family court case gets under way, under protest from Queen’s legal team
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Durban - The high-profile Zulu royal family court eventually got under way at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday morning, but not without glitches.
However, the legal team of the main applicant, Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu, kicked off the matter under protest, alerting the court that they intend to investigate the possibility of having the presiding Judge, Isaac Madondo, recused.
The bone of contention over Madondo’s involvement is that in 2014 he presided over the marriage of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and his last wife, Queen Zola Mafu. Mafu’s marriage to the late king is among the five other marriages Dlamini-Zulu seeks to nullify on the basis that the king was already married to her in a civil rites marriage which barred him from getting married to others.
Other than that, the court process was hit by minor glitches as court officials had to be strict and expel some senior members of the Zulu royal family who had come to court and were not accredited as the court wanted to limit the number of people due to Covid-19 regulations.
Those who were in court were those who are supporting King Misuzulu and Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Queen Sibongile and her two daughters, Prince Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthi were not in court.
Also skipping court was Prince Mbonisi who late last year was instructed by the court to join the case after he futilely tried to interdict a rumoured coronation of Misuzulu as king.
King Misuzulu and Buthelezi were not present in court. However, King Misuzulu’s brothers (including Prince Bambindlovu) and sisters came to court to show their support.
On the court case itself, most of the morning was spent discussing whether the legal team of Queen Sibongile had correctly filed papers to have the other five marriages nullified. Her lawyer Nigel Redman put up a fight, facing opposition mainly from Advocate Griffiths Madonsela who is representing King Misuzulu and tough questioning from Judge Madondo.
Judge Madondo said Queen Sibongile's court papers showed she was aware that the other five marriages were valid and she was only raising the matter so that the court could spend time venturing into the past when there was no need to do so.
Redman argued that the fact that Madonsela and other defence lawyers were opposing his application which meant that they acknowledged that there is an application to determine the validity of the marriages.
BREAKING NEWS: The Zulu royal case has hit snag as one side wants presiding judge, Isaac Madondo to consider recusing himself. That is because he presided over the marriage of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and his last wife, Zola Mafu. That was sometime back. @IOL #AmaZulu— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) January 11, 2022
“If the validity of the marriages does not matter, why are they opposing it? Why am I standing here arguing about it?” he asked. Redman stressed that the late king was not permitted to marry anyone after Queen Sibongile as once anyone is married in a civil marriage, he is not permitted to get married to anyone else. But Madonsela spiritedly fought back, saying that the marriages were legally recognised by the act governing marriages and the court was asked to deal with the matter of curiosity.
“Let me remind my learned friend that curiosity killed the cat,” he told the court, leaving it in stitches. The matter was adjourned for lunch and it would resume at 2:15pm yesterday (on Tuesday) to continue hearing arguments whether the court papers of Queen Sibongile does have supporting information to ask the court to determine the validity of the other five marriages which includes the mother of King Misuzulu, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu (they are not related).