The recognition decision of Misizulu as Zulu king was “unlawful and invalid”, the Gauteng High Court declared.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ruled that the certification of Misizulu KaZwelithini as Zulu king is unlawful and ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint an investigating committee to investigate and report on the matter.

Misizulu had been in a court battle with his half-brother Prince Simakade Zulu – supported by other royal family members – over the lawful recognition of his claim to the Zulu throne.

Misizulu had succeeded his father, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu who died in 2021, and his mother Queen Mantfombi, who acted as interim leader, also died that year.

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“It is declared that the recognition by the first respondent 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 court findings stated.

“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.”

The first respondent (Misizulu) was ordered to pay the costs of the applicant (the party of his half-brother Simakade), “including the costs of two counsel, where employed”.

“In respect of applications for condonation for late filing of papers or to strike out allegations in affidavits, each party is ordered to pay its own costs.”

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Members of the royal family, chiefs, princes and princesses had attended the court proceedings in the months leading up to this ruling.

About 200 amabutho and maidens gathered outside the court in October, singing and dancing in traditional regalia in support of their king.

Divisions in the royal family

Support for Misizulu had been split among the royal household since even before his coronation.

A Zulu royal family faction led by the late king’s brother, Prince Mbonisi Zulu, objected to King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s appointment, saying royal family members were not consulted before the decision to anoint the new king was made.

Some even declared Prince Simakade Zulu king before Misizulu was coronated and the matter later went to court.

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