High Court judgment clears Prince Misuzulu for next amaZulu crown

By Chris Makhaye

The stage is now set for Prince Misuzulu KaZwelithini to be crowned as the next king of amaZulu.

This, after KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Isaac Madondo dismissed three separate applications on Wednesday by the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s first wife, Queen Winifred Dlamini-Zulu, her two daughters, Princess Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Princess Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, and another by Prince Mbonisi Zulu, the late king’s brother.

King Goodwill Zwelithini died in March last year in a Durban hospital after suffering a Covid-related illness. In his will, he nominated his wife, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu, as the regent. But Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu died less than a month after the death of her husband. In her will, which was read after her funeral, she nominated her son Prince Misuzulu as the next king of amaZulu.

Since this nomination, the amaZulu royal family has been split down the middle, with some supporting the ascension of Prince Misuzulu KaZwelithini, and others opposing it.

See the legal tussle here.

In the court case, Queen Dlamini-Zulu was seeking a court order declaring her marriage to the late Zulu king in September 1969 as the only legitimate marriage, and those of the late king’s other wives as illegitimate. She also sought to be awarded half of the late king’s estate, believed to be worth more than R200-million.

The princesses sought the court to halt the coronation of Prince Misuzulu as the next king of the amaZulu, stating that the will of the late king had been forged. They said in their application that as members of the Zulu royal family, they would be disadvantaged if the prince was crowned, based on a will that was forged. In his application, Prince Mboniso had sought to halt the coronation of Prince Misuzulu, stating the Zulu royal meeting in which his name was proposed and nominated.

Madondo dismissed Queen Winfred Dlamini-Zulu’s application, saying that nobody had disputed that she was the late king’s wife and that her application to have half the late king’s estate was premature because the executor of the estate had not yet made a determination on that matter and nobody has so far come forward to dispute her part of the share of the estate.

He said the applicant queen can approach the court if she is not satisfied with the determination of the executor with regards to the distribution of the estate.

Ruling on the applications of the two princesses, Deputy Judge Madondo said two fingerprint experts who had been called to examine the signature of the late king, had concluded conflicting findings on the matter. He therefore, granted the suspension of the execution of the late king’s will, pending a trial where evidence will be led on the validity of the late king’s signature.

The two princesses were awarded an interdict of 15 days upon which to make a court application for a trial to hear this matter.

He dismissed the princesses’ application to stop the coronation of Prince Misuzulu, saying that they will not be directly prejudiced if he is crowned because they are not contenders to the throne.

Deputy Judge President Madondo dismissed Prince Mboniso’s application, saying he failed to convince the court how he would be negatively affected if Prince Misuzulu was crowned. The judge further said Prince Mboniso was not part of the amaZulu royal family meeting, chaired Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi as the prime minister of the amaZulu nation, where Prince Misizulu’s name was proposed and nominated as the next amaZulu king. The judge said since Prince Mboniso did not partake in that meeting, he can therefore not dispute the outcome of the meeting, including the nomination processes.

Dozens of Amabutho, clad in their traditional regalia, listened to the judgment televised on a big screen in a park opposite the Pietermaritzburg High Court. They were accompanied by Zulu virgins in their white skirts and beads.

Inside court, members of the Zulu royal family and courtiers came in their numbers, led by Prince Thulani Zulu, who is the spokesperson for the pro-Prince Misuzulu faction of the amaZulu royal family, Prince Misuzulu’s younger brother Bambindlovu.

Prince Mboniso Zulu said they are happy with the verdict, saying that nothing will stand in the way of the coronation of Prince Misuzulu as the next king.

“We have been saying all along that these applications, these court actions, were frivolous and meant at holding the whole amaZulu nation to ransom. Now we will go ahead and crown the legitimate king, King Misuzulu.

His views were echoed by Prince Bambindlovu, who said this was the momentous and critical day in the history of the amaZulu nation. He added that the nation will be safe in his brother’s hands.

Nomagugu Ngobese, the founder of Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Centre, who is credited as one of the people who revived the virginity testing of Zulu maidens, said they were happy about the court decision.

“To us it has always been clear that Prince Misuzulu is our king. Now the court has just confirmed it.”

Advocate Mondli Thusini, who represented the Zulu queen and the two princesses, said they accepted the court ruling, but will study the full judgment before making a determination. “We will read the whole judgment and approach our clients for instructions on whether to appeal or not,” he said.

Mpumelelo Zikalala, a Durban-based advocate and legal commentator, said the judgment was sound and the chances of a successful appeal are very slim.

He concurred that unless there is another urgent application brought by another contender, nothing will stop Prince Misuzulu from ascending to the throne.

This article first appeared in Daily Maverick on 2 March 2022.

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