Judgment has been reserved in the case of the AmaZulu royal household.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Judgment has been reserved in the case of the AmaZulu royal household in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
In the first application, Queen Sibongile Dlamini Zulu, who married the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu in 1969, sought a declaratory order stating hers was the only valid and legal marital union with the late king, that the marriages of the late king’s five other wives be declared invalid and illegal, and that she is entitled to 50% of all the late king’s substantial estates, believed to be worth hundreds of millions.
The presiding judge in the matter, KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Isaac Madondo, ruled on Wednesday that Queen Sibongile could not amend her founding court papers, saying such amendments had been sought at the eleventh hour without any valid or adequate reasons for doing so.
After this ruling,the court heard applications by Queen Sibongile’s two daughters, Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Ntombizosuthu Zulu-Duma, who are challenging the late king’s will and are asking the court to interdict the process that will culminate in the coronation of Prince Misuzulu Zulu as the next Zulu king.
Prince Misuzulu and the traditional prime minister of the Zulu Kingdom, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, have been cited as first and second respondents in both these applications.
King Goodwill Zwelithini died in March 2021 in a Durban hospital after suffering from Covid-19 and diabetes complications. In his will, the late king nominated his wife, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu (the sister of King Mswati of Eswatini) as the regent of the Zulus.
Queen Mantfombi died about a month later, on 29 April 2021. In her own will, which was read shortly after her funeral, she nominated her son Prince Misuzulu to take over the reign of the Zulu kingdom.
In their application, the late king’s daughters contend that the signature on their father’s supposed will is forged and they want the court to hold a trial or hearing on the validity of this will. They also want the court to stop all processes about the Zulu royal succession until the matter of the will has been determined by the court.
Advocate Nigel Redman SC argued on behalf of the princesses that the signature on the king’s will could have been forged to achieve the objective of appointing Misuzulu as the new king.
He said the signature on the will and other documents signed by the late king had been examined by several signature experts, who saw "shocking inconsistency" and "obvious dissimilarities" in them and the signature on the will seemed to have been done by a "drunk person or a child".
Advocate Griffiths Madonsela SC argued that the court should dismiss the application by the princesses as they had failed to prove to the court how they would be adversely affected on both matters. Madonsela said the minutes of the meeting in which the late king’s will was read clearly show that not only did the two princesses participate, but they also endorsed the king’s appointment of Queen Mantfombi as the regent.
On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Madondo adjourned the proceeding, saying he wanted to be given some time to apply his mind to these matters. He did not say when the court would resume or when he would deliver his rulings.