Pietermaritzburg high court judge Isaac Madondo has dismissed Queen Sibongile Dlamini’s bid to have half of the estate of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini set aside for her, with costs.
The coronation of Prince Misuzulu kaZwelithini as the King of the Zulu Nation can go ahead.
“He is the undisputed successor to the throne,” Pietermaritzburg high court judge Isaac Madondo said on Wednesday.
However, the judge granted an interdict preventing the execution of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s will, the distribution of assets among his wives and children, until the authenticity of the will has been determined by court hearing oral evidence from handwriting experts.
This application had to be launched within 15 days or the interdict would lapse.
In January Madondo heard argument in three related applications.
In one, Zulu princesses Ntandoyenkosi Zulu and Zulu-Duma sought the interdict against the coronation of Prince Misuzulu, citing the “forgery” of Zwelethini’s will as the basis for this.
But the judge said the succession issue had nothing to do with the will.
This was because the king, in his will, had named Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu, who is considered in Zulu custom to be the “great wife” because she hailed from eSwatini royalty, as his heir.
She died before she could ascend to the throne. She named her eldest son Prince Misuzulu, as her successor “which was in accordance with traditional law and custom” and her will had not been challenged.
However, he said “the dispute of fact” over the signatures on the king’s will should be referred to oral argument.
Madondo dismissed with costs an application by the princesses’ mother Queen Sibongile Winifred Zulu, the king’s first wife, for a declaratory order from the court that her civil marriage in 1969 was in community of property, which would entitle her to a half share of the king’s estate.
She wanted an order that the king was “precluded” from entering into customary marriages with his five other wives.
Madondo said “no practical effect” would be achieved by this and the queen should lodge her claim with the executor of the estate.
He also dismissed an application by the brother of the king, Prince Mbonisi Zulu, who launched an urgent application in December last year asking for an interdict against a “rumoured” coronation of Prince Misuzulu which was allegedly going to take place the following day.
The “rumour” was denied by Zulu prime minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
The urgent application was not heard, but was rolled over to be heard along with the other two related applications.
Madondo said that application had become “moot”, but he dealt at length with allegations that there was division in the Zulu royal family over who should take the throne.
He said no matter what was written in a will, it was the prerogative of the royal family, taking into account Zulu tradition and customs, to appoint leadership.
One hundred and forty members had met in May last year and agreed that Prince Misuzulu should be king.
“There was no dispute … no grievances were lodged and no-one else is laying claim to the throne,” the judge said.