‘It should lead to no crisis’: Ramaphosa says ruling on Zulu succession battle is ‘no real calamity’

By Nkosikhona Duma

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the judgment by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he unlawfully certified Misuzulu kaZwelithini as king of the Zulu nation is “no real calamity”.

On Monday, Judge Norman Davis ruled that Ramaphosa must appoint an investigative committee to conduct an investigation and provide a report regarding the heir of the late King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.

Davis said:

It was found that the president has not lawfully recognised the king as the president has not followed the peremptory procedure provided for in Section 8 of the [Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act].

The ruling followed legal action by Prince Simakade Zulu, one of Zwelithini’s sons, and the late king’s half-brother Prince Mbonisi Zulu, who challenged Ramaphosa’s decision to certify Misuzulu as the Zulu monarch.

The challenge, which was defended by King Misuzulu, was heard over three days in October.

Ramaphosa addressed Davis’ ruling to reporters on the sidelines of his inaugural Presidential Science, Technology and Innovation Plenary in Tshwane on Tuesday.

He said:

It should really lead to no crisis; it’s a matter that is fairly straightforward.

Ramaphosa said his office was studying the judgment in a bid to ascertain the way forward.

He hastened to mention that members of the Zulu royal family needed to take responsibility for the succession battle.

“Those are matters that need to be properly assessed and dealt with by the royal family,” he said.


In his judgment, Davis specified that his ruling was not about “who should be king of the Zulu [nation]”.

He said KwaZulu-Natal acting Judge President Isaac Madondo had already ruled on whether King Misuzulu was appointed in line with Zulu customs.

Durban-based legal expert Mpumelelo Zikalala said Davis’ ruling did not have a bearing on Misuzulu’s position on a “technical basis”.

However, he said the ruling exposed the Zulu monarch to other potential legal challenges.

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.
Daily SunPhoto: Jabulani Langa


“Those who are challenging him could approach the courts and ask that he does not receive any state benefits, pending the finalisation of the process that the president has been asked to launch.

“The court could rule in their favour, but it could also say that once iSilo [the monarch] has been appointed in terms of Zulu custom, that’s the way things should be and the president’s certification is merely ceremonial,”┬áZikalala said.

Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena, president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA, echoed Ramaphosa’s sentiment and urged members of the Zulu royal household to resolve the matter internally.

“We just hope that the family comes together and sort out this issue in line with African culture. It’s unfortunate when African succession battles are taken to courts that use Roman-Dutch law,” he said.

This article first appeared on News24.com on 12 December 2023.

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