Princess Masalanabo at age 12. Picture: AFP
Princess Masalanabo at age 12. Picture: AFP

War of words over Modjadji throne

By Mashudu Sadike Time of article published Jun 10, 2021

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Pretoria - The Modjadji Royal Nation and its regent Prince Mpapatla Modjadji have filed a notice to oppose the application by ANC MP Mathole Motshekga regarding Princess Masalanabo’s future.

The application is disputing Prince Mpapatla’s regency and the decision by the royal council to nominate Princess Masalanabo’s older brother, Prince Lekukela, to rule over the Balobedu nation outside Modjadjiskloof in Mopani, Limpopo.

Princess Masalanabo, 16, was tipped to be the next rain queen when she came of age in two years’ time.

The notice to oppose, dated June 2, which Pretoria News has seen, states that the Modjadji Royal Nation and Prince Mpapatla will be opposing the application.

The notice reads in part: “Take notice that the first respondent (Modjadji Royal Nation) and second respondent (Prince Mpapatla) hereby enter notice to oppose this application.

“Take notice further that the first and second respondents have appointed Bethuel Monakisi Attorneys Inc to accept service of all process and documents.”

Last month Pretoria News reported that Motshekga, in his court papers filed to the court and served to the respondents on the May 28, was claiming that Prince Mpapatla was essentially a “self-proclaimed” regent.

He said Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha had 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 was prepared by the former ANC treasurer and lawyer, Mathews Phosa, who is representing Motshekga. It disputed the future of the Balobedu Queenship’s apparent Princess Masalanabo after the decision of the Royal Council to nominate Prince Lekuleka.

In the papers the Commission of Traditional Leadership is cited as the third respondent, President Cyril Ramaphosa the fourth respondent, Mathabatha the fifth respondent, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma the sixth respondent and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamubas as the seventh.

Pretoria News could not reach The Royal Nation’s attorney, Bethuel Monakisi, after several phone call attempts.

Speaking to Pretoria News last night, the spokesperson for the Royal Council and Prince Mpapatla, Phetole Mampeule, said they had filed the motion to oppose because Motshekga, in his court papers, was claiming “all sorts of nonsense and rubbish”.

He said: “They are fabricating and we are going to oppose just to prove them wrong.

“They must understand that people who make decisions about our culture is the Royal Family. Not some people who are not even family who want to impose on us. This is traditional leadership and not elections.

“Once we have made a decision on who we want our traditional leader to be we have decided. We have been living with these rules even during apartheid. Apartheid never recognised us but we survived it.”

However, Phosa disputed this, saying the matter would go unopposed in court because the Modjadji Royal Nation were supposed to have attached an opposing affidavit and risk the court declaring the regency and the Royal Council’s decision invalid.

Phosa said: “If they don’t file papers, we will proceed and set down the matter on an unopposed roll and request the court to declare them an illegal council, not properly constituted to declare that Mpapatla is not a regent of Balobedu. We also want it to set aside their unlawful decision to enthrone Prince Lekukela as king null and void and of no force and effect.

“The court must also declare that Princess Masalanabo is the rightful queen elect of the Modjadji people to declare that Motshekga is the rightful legal custodian of Princess Masalanabo, and to order that they pay all our costs.”

Pretoria News

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