KZN Premier to make call on king’s coronation
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KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala will be seeking advice on whether the coronation of King Misuzulu should go ahead amid court disputes which have divided the Zulu royal family.
This was after the Pietermaritzburg High Court temporarily adjourned an urgent application brought by two daughters of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini – Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu, from his first wife, Queen Sibongile – on Friday, to suspend the execution of the late king’s will which subsequently named Prince Misuzulu as the heir to the throne.
In the documents before the high court, the princesses are challenging the authenticity of the late king’s signature on the will.
They alleged that the signatures appearing on the will of King Zwelithini differed from the ones known to them.
King Zwelithini’s will, which was read after the queen’s memorial earlier this month, appointed the late Queen Mantfombi as his successor to the throne who then appointed his son Prince Misuzulu as the heir.
Another royal member, Prince Nhlanganiso entered the fray filing an affidavit in support of the aggrieved princesses.
The court adjourned the matter to allow all respondents who wish to oppose it to file papers on or before June 18.
Zikalala said his office had not received proper feedback on what transpired in court on Friday.
“At this point, we cannot take any decision or comment on the matter. We will go through the papers and get advice on what we must do as a government,” said Zikalala.
Last week, while delivering his office’s budget, Zikalala announced that R65 million would be set aside for the royal household, including the coronation of the king.
Premier Zikalala is a key player in the coronation as he is the one who is supposed to write a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa to issue a certificate of recognition for King Misuzulu.
The aggrieved princesses cited Zikalala and Ramaphosa among respondents, and want the court to interdict them from recognising Prince Misuzulu as a king and refer the matter back to the family.
They argued that the process followed to identify Prince Misuzulu was in contravention of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Act and not legally compliant.
They alleged that the royal family had not met to discuss the issue of succession to the throne as per the act.
“So, if the signatures on the will, that are described as those of my father, are proven to be forged and fraudulent, the will effectively becomes a poisoned tree, and the fruits of the poison tree are forbidden fruits and as such cannot be enjoyed or eaten.
“The cost of the coronation will be paid for by the taxpayers. It is undesirable to use taxpayers money knowing well that the process is being challenged. In essence, if the challenge is successful, the taxpayers will be required to pay for the second time for the coronation of the king,” said princesses in the consolidated application.
However, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in his answering affidavit filed in court, dismissed the allegation. He maintained that processes were followed.
As the preparations for the coronation were already under way, princes and princesses filled the benches of the high court gallery showing keen interest in a matter that may affect a family of over 200 members.
The king's estate was said to be in excess of hundreds of millions including properties and million hectares of land under the Ingonyama Trust.
During the brief court sitting, Judge Rishi Seegobin, who presided over the matter, encouraged the legal team to get the family members to seek a solution out money.
Prince Thulani Zulu, spokesperson for the royal family, said nothing was stopping them from continuing with coronation plans.
“It is a pity we ended up here, but we are happy because the other party (aggrieved princesses) came intending to stop everything. Now that the court did not grant them that, on our side, we are happy because we are going to continue with all our processes.
“Now it is up to the premier and the Prince of Kwaphindangene (Mangosuthu Buthelezi) to do everything going forward,” said Prince Thulani.
Legal teams from both parties were confident that the court would rule in their favour, respectively.
Advocate Mondli Thusini, who represented the aggrieved princesses said as the matter was before the court it would be dubious for anyone to go on with the coronation while the matter was still pending.
He vowed that they would take legal action should the royal family or of court to save time and government make a further announcement on the coronation.
“Nobody must do anything until the court makes an order in respect of this, that is what logic dictates.
“All the nominations were done through the will of the late king. Other members of the royal family, including our client, were not involved in the nomination of Prince Misuzulu as the king. So if they say the family met, we ask which family if it does not include the applicants in this matter?
“The will of the late king nominated Queen Mantfombi who has since passed on, he then nominated the apparent king that we have right now. That is in contravention of Section 17 of the Kwazulu-natal Traditional leadership and Governance Act because it says the family must meet. So if they claim the family met, where would our clients be if the family had met?” Thusini asked.
King Misuzulu’s lawyer, advocate Musa Ntsibande, said they were confident that the court would rule in their favour.