New twist in Zulu royal family court case, Queen Sibongile wants to amend court papers
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Durban - After suffering an early legal setback in her bid to have 50% of the estate of late King Goodwill Zwelithini set aside for her, Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu now wants the court to allow her to amend her court papers.
In the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, the first order of the day was whether KwaZulu-Natal Natal Judge President, Mjabuliseni Isaac Madondo, should recuse himself or not.
The recusal questions arose because Madondo could be conflicted as he presided over the 2014 marriage of the late King and Queen Zola Mafu, the last young queen who lives in Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
But Madondo said the matter should proceed as there was nowhere in the queen's papers where the issue of the validity of the five marriages was in question, so there could be no conflict of interest.
After listening to fierce arguments between the queen’s lawyer Nigel Redman and advocate Griffiths Madonsela, who is representing King Misuzulu and his traditional prime minister Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Madondo said the issue of the marriages was not part of what the court should rule on.
He noted that the marriages, which also include the one of the late King to Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, the mother of King Misuzulu, were there for over 30 years and they "cannot be wished away".
Madondo also noted that the status of the marriages was not subject to any determination, as even in her affidavit, Queen Sibongile conceded that the marriages were recognised, because she does not want the other queens and their children to be evicted from their palaces, but was merely concerned about securing her 50% share of the late king’s estate.
The queen also said, Madondo noted, that she wanted the children of the other queens to be treated on an equal basis to her, thus conceding that the marriages were valid.
He noted that by only making this request now, the omission was not a mistake, but deliberate.
"So there is nowhere in the papers where she is asking for that (determination of the validity of the marriages)," Madondo said.
Madondo noted that even Inkosi Buthelezi, in his replying papers, noted that the queen was not seeking a declaration to have the marriages nullified.
After the dismissal, Redman said his client would like to amend their court papers, prompting Madonsela to oppose the proposal, saying they knew long ago that their papers were defective and chose to stick to their arguments.
"We ask to have the application of the amendment to be dismissed," Madonsela pleaded with the court, saying it was not of public interest, more especially that of the anxious Zulu nation.
Madonsela later added that: "We don't want the amendment because it's a patch up job."
Judge Madondo reserved judgment on the request for amendment, saying he needed time to apply his mind before making the ruling today.
Durban based legal expert, Mpumelelo Zikalala, said it was not likely that the court would grant the request to amend the papers, as the matter was brought on an urgent basis. He said the court would have to consider that an amendment would affect others, and that they would have to be given time to file their papers, saying that the matter had already dragged on.