ANC MP Mathole Motshekga. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
ANC MP Mathole Motshekga. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Mathole Motshekga disputes Modjadji queen regent’s legitimacy in court papers

By Mashudu Sadike Time of article published May 27, 2021

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Pretoria - ANC MP Mathole Motshekga is disputing the legitimacy of Modjadji queenship regent, Prince Mpapatla Modjadji, saying the position has not been reviewed every 12 months as required by the law.

In court papers yet to be filed before the court but obtained by Pretoria News, Motshekga claimed Prince Mpapatla was essentially a “self-proclaimed” regent because Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha failed to review the position every year as required by Act no 6 of the Limpopo Traditional Leadership and Institutions Act of 2003.

The notice of motion prepared by ANC veteran Mathews Phosa, who is representing Motshekga, is the latest in the legal dispute between the former ANC chief whip and Prince Mpapatla over the future of Balobedu Queenship heir apparent, Princess Masalanabo Modjadji. This follows the decision of the Modjadji Royal Council to nominate Princess Masalanabo’s older brother, Prince Lekukela, to rule over the Balobedu nation outside Modjadjiskloof in Mopani, Limpopo.

Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday. Prince Mpapatla, said: “I am not aware of any papers..”

His attorney, Bethuel Monakisi, added: “We can’t comment at this stage because we have not received anything.”

In the papers, the Modjadji Royal Nation is listed as the first respondent, Prince Mpapatla as the second respondent, the Commission of Traditional Leadership as the third respondent, President Cyril Ramaphosa as the fourth respondent, and Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha as the fifth respondent. Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is listed as the sixth respondent, and Limpopo Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) MEC Bisikopo Makamu as the seventh.

In the motion, Motshekga is asking the court to grant an order in favour of the following:

1. Reviewing and setting aside the decision taken by the First and Second Respondent on May 7 to appoint Lekukela Modjadji as the next leader of the Balobedu Royal Nation.

2. Declaring the impugned decision to be null and void from the beginning.

3. Reviewing and setting aside the failure by the First and Second Respondent to declare the Applicant (Queen Elect, Her Majesty Masalanabo Modjadji VII), as the rightful heir to ascend the throne as the Queen of the Balobedu Royal Nation.

4. Substituting the failure of the First and Second Respondent to declare the Applicant (Queen Elect) with the following decisions:

4.1 That Lekukela Modjadji does not qualify to be the leader and the rightful heir to ascend the throne.

4.2 That, Queen Elect, Her Majesty Masalanabo Modjadji VII is the rightful heir to ascend the throne.

4.3 That the conduct of the First and Second Respondent violates the provisions of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act and Limpopo Traditional Leadership Act.

5. Dissolving the First Respondent as a illegally constituted council with immediate effect, and direct the Modjadji Royal Family to constitute a new and inclusive Royal Council comprising representation from four houses created from Mokoto lineage (family tree).

6. Removing the Second Respondent in line with the relief sought above.

7. Declaring the First Respondent being a de facto Royal Council and self-proclaimed Modjadji Royal Nation consisting of three people – Regent Prince Mpapatla Modjadji, Phetole Mampeule and Mr Moketla – to be delinquent and dishonest in contravention of section 27 of the Framework Act.

8. Ordering the 5th Respondent to accept the Balobedu Royal Council, as constituted by senior traditional leadership of the Balobedu Royal Nation, as identified by the Tolo commission report.

9. Ordering any and all respondents which oppose the relief sought by the Applicant, to pay punitive costs on an attorney and own client scale.

10. Granting the Applicant further and/or alternative relief.

Mathabatha’s spokesperson, Willy Mosoma, said Prince Mpapatla was a duly recognised regent and receives all the benefits from the government.

“The review of status of all regents is done every 12 months,” Mosoma said.

“The nature of the review process is, Royal Families decide who to delegate for the position. Royal Councils endorse the decision. The decision is therefore communicated to the Coghsta department. Coghsta make a recommendation to the Premier. On verification the Office of the Premier issues the chosen one with a certificate. The one with the certificate is added to the persal system for payment of salary and benefits. Mpapatla is duly recognised regent.

The rest of the respondents could not be reached for comment.

Pretoria News

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