Long road to find real Zulu king

Misuzulu kaZwelithini will remain king of the Zulu nation until the court process, which could take up to 10 years, is finalised

Misuzulu kaZwelithini will remain king of the Zulu nation until the court process, which could take up to 10 years, is finalised

Published Dec 23, 2023


Durban — An investigation into who should be the king of the Zulus, as per the North Gauteng High Court order, could take up to 10 years to complete, said legal expert and political analyst Mpumelelo Zikalala.

And, regardless of Judge Norman Davis’s ruling that nullified President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recognition and gazetting of Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s kingship, most members of the Zulu nation would continue to recognise Misuzulu as their leader, said Zikalala.

The court did not give Ramaphosa a time frame of when he should appoint a task team and how long it should take to complete its investigation.

“The appeal can take even a year before it goes to court, and we are looking at not less than six months before we find a final decision on the appeal or even 10 years to finalise the matter,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala said Ramaphosa would have to appoint an impartial task team and there was a slim chance of finding a pool of Zulu cultural experts.

Misuzulu’s kingship was called into question when Davis ruled last week that Ramaphosa did not follow due process before recognising him.

The matter was brought to court by 20 princes and princesses as applicants, including eight of Misuzulu’s siblings who support their elder brother Prince Simakade’s claim to the throne.

The application was opposed by eight princes, princesses, queens, Ramaphosa, the office of the late Zulu Prime Minister Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, relevant government departments and KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

The judge had found there was a lack of unison among royal family members, amabutho, izinduna and the Zulu nation in recognising Misuzulu’s kingship.

The judge also found that Ramaphosa gazetted the kingship on March 16 last year without following customary law based on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019.

The applicants took the matter to the Gauteng High Court after Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Mjabuliseni Isaac Madondo, the KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President, ruled in March last year that Misuzulu was the rightful heir.

UKZN Zulu cultural expert Dr Gugu Mazibuko questioned the legitimacy of the Act on which Davis based his ruling: “The Khoi-San Leadership Act was not even brought to a public hearing before it was passed,” she said.

Simakade’s supporters within the royal family have called for Dube-Ncube to terminate Misuzulu’s salary, estimated to be about R1.2 million a year, pending the finalisation of the investigation.

However, Zikalala said according to the law, the court ruling would be parked by Ramaphosa’s appeal and Misuzulu would legally and constitutionally remain on the throne with all his state benefits intact.

He and Mazibuko agreed that it was a travesty of tradition and culture to allow courts to decide on the kingship, which should be resolved by the royal family.

Mazibuko said in the eyes of many in the Zulu nation, Misuzulu would remain the heir to his late father and mother if all cultural processes of appointing and throning were followed.

Simakade’s spokesperson Prince Mazwi Zulu has called for Dube-Ncube to freeze Misuzulu’s perks.

“Since the judge has said that (Misuzulu) was recognised without following the law, all his benefits should be stopped,” said Prince Mazwi.

Misuzulu’s spokesperson Prince Africa Zulu said even if Ramaphosa were to fail in the appeal, Misuzulu would be the king until the finalisation of the investigation.

Sunday Tribune