Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s role is not legal, says Zulu queen and princesses
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Durban - As warring Zulu royal factions get ready for oral arguments in court, Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu has fired a salvo at Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the traditional prime minister of the monarch and Zulu nation, stating that he is a mere nephew of the royals and, as such, he has no right to convene royal meetings.
This is contained in a 34-page affidavit filed by Dlamini-Zulu in response to Buthelezi before the Pietermaritzburg high court where the queen is fighting to inherit 50% of the estate of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini on the basis that, as his first wife, they were married in community of property and in a civil rites marriage.
Dlamini-Zulu’s two daughters, Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu Duma-Zulu, who separately allege that the king’s will cannot stand as they have evidence that some signatures on it were forged, have also filed a joint affidavit.
They also challenged Buthelezi.
“Given the fact that Princess Ntandoyenkosi has already discussed the locus standi of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, I will not revisit or traverse those issues in this replying affidavit,” Dlamini-Zulu argues in her court papers.
“All that is worth stating categorically and in unequivocal terms is ’umshana akabi inkosana ekhaya konina’, so in the case of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, he is a nephew to King Solomon. It is therefore wise to encourage and plead with His Excellency Prince Buthelezi to remember his true status and the inherent customary limitations on a person who is a nephew.
“This is so important because he may unconsciously erode and denude himself of the respect we have accorded him as the royal family. In truth, Prince Buthelezi's position as an elder is to advise as and when requested by the royal family. It is undesirable for him to convene meetings of the royal family,” Dlamini-Zulu argues.
Dealing with the issue of the other five wives of the late king, Dlamini-Zulu insists that they married him knowing that he was married to her and that, at some point, their marriages would face legal challenges.
“First, the other queens, with greatest respect to them, when they decided to be involved with the late Isilo, they knew that he was married. Accordingly, they were aware and reconciled themselves to the fact that their union could at some point face a challenge relating to validity.
“As a matter of general principle, when two people enter into a marriage, they make a conscious choice together that they will be bound by marriage regime of the type of marriage they chose. In my case and the late Isilo, we chose to be married in terms of the Marriages Act of 1961. To this end, the marriage is protected from practices such as polygamy. This choice must be protected even after the days of the late Isilo.”
Dlamini-Zulu’s daughters said Buthelezi’s position was not recognised by the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Act of 2005.
“I listed these traditional leadership positions to demonstrate that the role that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi draws his locus standi from does not exist in the statute and is not recognised by the applicable statute.
“Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has no direct and substantial interest in the issues forming the subject of litigation. It must be understood that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi grounded his case on the account that he is a member of the Royal Family. In this affidavit I will show that although he is a relative; however, he does not have direct and substantial interest in the issues that form the subject of litigation. Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is indeed born of Princess Constance Magogo and as such forms part of what is generally referred to as the extended family.”
They also claimed that it was laughable that Buthelezi says the current centre of royal power is KwaKhangelamankengane, the Nongoma palace of the late Queen Regent, Mantfombi Shiyiwe Dlamini, and the late king.
According to them, KwaKhethomthandayo palace, also in Nongoma, where the mourning for the late king took place in March this year, is the centre of royal power.
“This is so because the first house is at KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace. There is no other palace where discussion relating to the succession can be held. This so because the mortal remains of the Late His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini was at Kwa-Khethomthandayo on the last day before his internment. As recent, the cleansing ritual and ukuphuma kwengina was co-ordinated from KwaKhethomthandayo Palace.
“These facts are significant because they reaffirm that the centre of the royal family is KwaKhethomthandayo, not KwaKhangelamankengane Palace, as Prince Mangosuthu is trying so hard to change the protocol,” they claimed.