Prince Mbonisi’s lawyers warn that Queen Mantfombi's 'great-wife' status could be set aside by Supreme Court of Appeal

The late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu. File picture: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP

The late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu. File picture: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP

Published Oct 19, 2023


The legal team of Prince Mbonisi Zulu has warned that the status of the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu could be wiped out if the Supreme Court of Appeal sets aside Judge Isaac Madondo’s ruling of March 2022.

Arguing on behalf of Prince Mbonisi on Wednesday, the last day of the marathon case of the Zulu throne in Pretoria, advocate Thabani Masuku SC (Senior Counsel) told Judge Norman Davis about the pending appeal.

He said the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein will hear the appeal on November 13 this year.

The appeal relates to the ruling of Judge Madondo of the Pietermaritzburg High Court in March 2022, where he dismissed Prince Mbonisi's application to interdict the coronation of King Misuzulu on the basis that he has no legal standing to even bring it to court.

On the same day, Judge Madondo dismissed an application by Princess Ntandoyenkosi and Princess Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, who wanted the will of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini to be declared invalid on the basis that they claimed his signature on it was forged.

They argued that the will with the allegedly forged signature is the one that gave rise to Queen Mantfombi acting as regent, and she subsequently gave the power to her son, King Misuzulu.

Madondo said that even if the will was forged, it had no bearing on the succession of the Zulu monarch, as King Misuzulu’s appointment was based on his birthright; the will had no bearing on that and dismissed their application.

He also dismissed an application from Queen Sibongile Dlamini, who wanted to be declared the only legal wife of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, on the basis that they married according to civil rites and he was not supposed to take other wives like Queen Mantfombi and others.

Dlamini also wanted to inherit 50% of the estate of the late king and leave the other five wives to share the remainder.

Masuku told the court when it heard Prince Simakade’s case, where he is seeking to dethrone King Misuzulu by nullifying his recognition that Queen Mantfombi’s status is at risk.

He warned that the whole succession issue could take another turn if the SCA can set aside Madondo’s appeal, as King Misuzulu's claim to the throne on the basis that he is the firstborn son of the great wife could also fall away.

Prince Mbonisi is part of the case on the basis that he is backing Prince Buzabazi for the throne.

Prince Mbonisi’s legal team pulled out another gun in the form of Advocate Menzi Simelane, the former national director of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), whose appointment was set aside by the same court in 2012.

During his arguments on behalf of Prince Mbonisi, Simelane told the court that the next Zulu king, once King Misuzulu has been dethroned, should be appointed by the children of King Bhekuzulu.

He read out a submission by Prince Mbonisi that even the late King Goodwill Zwelithini was appointed by his brothers and sisters, and so shall be the case with his successor.

That submission drew howling from the benches where supporters of Prince Simakade and King Misuzulu were seated.

On Monday, advocate Allan Dobson SC, who is acting on behalf of Prince Simakade, told the court that the only legitimate members of the Zulu royal families who can meet and identify a successor are the children of the last five kings: King Goodwill Zwelithini, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, King Solomon, King Dinuzulu, and King Cetshwayo.

He said if someone is a brother or sister to King Cetshwayo or King Mpande, they are not included in the list of real royal family members who should sit in meetings and make decisions.

In part of his closing arguments on behalf of Prince Simakade, Dobson told the court that his client is having his first shot at challenging the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to recognise King Misuzulu.

As such, he should not be bound by other interlocutory applications that he had nothing to do with as an applicant. He was referring to the Madondo decision when it was said in passing that he has no legitimate claim to the throne as even his birthright does not allow him to contest it.

Judge Davis reserved judgment for a date that would be announced to the parties.

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