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Ramaphosa will not participate in court bid to dethrone King Misuzulu, says presidency

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini at the recent reed dance (umkhosi womhlanga) at Enyokeni Royal Palace in KwaNongoma. File photo.
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini at the recent reed dance (umkhosi womhlanga) at Enyokeni Royal Palace in KwaNongoma. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will not participate in efforts to stop the official recognition of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini as the ninth AmaZulu king at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. 

“The president does not want to get involved in the dispute within the royal family,” his spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said on Tuesday.

Magwenya was referring to new court action launched by the eldest son of late King Goodwill Zwelithini, Prince Simakade, who claims he has always been regarded by the royal family as the rightful heir to the throne.

The royal family has been at loggerheads since the death of Zwelithini and Queen Mantfombi Dlamini in 2021.

Ramaphosa officially recognised Misuzulu in March 2022 as the one who qualifies under customary law to assume the position of king.

The decision was also accepted by then KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala.

In a Pretoria high court application to review and overrule three decisions that led to Misuzulu’s ascendance, Simakade wants the court to set aside:

  • a meeting at which Misuzulu was nominated heir to the Zulu throne;
  • Ramaphosa’s decision to recognise Misuzulu as king; and
  • last month’s traditional coronation of Misuzulu.

In his founding affidavit, the prince contends the “Great Wife”, Queen Mantfombi, acknowledged him as her firstborn, despite him not being her biological child.

Simakade, born out of wedlock, was affiliated with the house of the late queen, from where the heir to the throne should customarily come. He says this accords him the same rights and obligations as the oldest biological son of the “Great Wife”.

Magwenya said: “Papers have been filed in court ... and the act requires that when the royal family has made the decision on who ascends to the throne it conveys that decision to the president via the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

“In his papers, the president is not fighting any member of the royal family except to defend his process that led to the decision to recognise King Misuzulu.”

Magwenya said Ramaphosa had records of the royal family meetings and confirmation of the family’s decision.


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