Ramaphosa did not follow right steps to recognise King Misuzulu

Entire process was flawed from start - cultural expert

Koena Mashale Journalist
Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa with AmaZulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini at the certificate of recognition handover ceremony at Moses Mabhida Stadium last year in Durban.
Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa with AmaZulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini at the certificate of recognition handover ceremony at Moses Mabhida Stadium last year in Durban.
Image: Darren Stewart

A cultural expert says the Pretoria high court ruling which found that President Cyril Ramaphosa did not follow due processes before recognising King Misuzulu kaZwelithini Zulu as Isilo means the Zulu nation has no king.

Judge Norman Davis on Monday ruled that the recognition was unlawful and invalid and set it aside.

"It is declared that the recognition by the first respondent [Ramaphosa] of the second respondent as Isilo of the Zulu nation as contained in Government Gazette no 46057 of 17 March 2022 [the recognition decision] was unlawful and invalid and the recognition decision is hereby set aside. 

"The matter of the recognition of the Isilo of the AmaZulu is remitted to the first respondent who is directed to act in terms of sections 8(4) and 8(5) of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019 and to appoint an investigative committee as contemplated in that act to conduct an investigation and to provide a report in respect of allegations that the identification of the second respondent was not done in terms of customary laws and customs..." said Davis in the order.

Cultural expert prof Musa Xulu said the process in which MisuZulu was appointed king has been disputed by the courts based on two findings.

"The first one is that the meetings that were called to nominate Misuzulu must now be investigated in terms of their legalities, especially considering the opposition who said that the people who were attending the meeting on Misuzulu’s side were not even part of the Zulu nation.

“The second thing is that at the time that President Ramaphosa made the recognition, there were already disputes in the matter and the committee that had been appointed led by the former premier recommended that he should delay in making the recognition until all the issues had been tabled,” said Xulu.

Xulu said the entire process was flawed from the beginning.

“What has happened now is that the entire process is going to have to be restarted at the Zulu household again, especially considering that you cannot appoint someone who has not been agreed to by the entirety of the royal family.

“If there are disputes that rise in the process, the president must then refer the disputes to the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs and because of these many irregularities, for now it means until he lodges an appeal, at the moment, the Zulu nation has no king,” said Xulu.

In his judgment, Davis said the “question that came before this court was not to make a determination as to who should be the king of the AmaZulu”.

“The applicants didn’t ask the court to determine that issue. The applicants brought two review applications and the court was required to determine those. The first was whether the incumbent king, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini Zulu, has correctly been appointed as king in terms of Zulu custom and the second was whether the president had correctly recognised the king in terms of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act...” said Davis.

“In respect of the first question Madondo AJP had already pronounced in related litigation in the KwaZulu-Natal Division, Pietermaritzburg, on March 2 2022 that King Misuzulu is the rightful heir to the throne. This court had to decide whether that decision is res iudicata [something which has already been decided] as this court cannot sit as one of appeal.

“Only once it has found that the decision of Madondo AJP is not res iudicata could the first review application be proceeded with...”


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