Durban – As the battle for the Zulu throne heats up, Prince Simakade Zulu, the first-born son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini who is seeking to dethrone his half-brother, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, Andile, of meddling in the affairs of the embattled royal household.
In a 12-point legal plan which was formulated in Johannesburg three weeks ago when the prince and other royal family members supporting him had a meeting with his lawyers, he implied that Andile had an influence on the decision that led to the president speeding up the process of recognising King Misuzulu, thus paving the way for his coronation.
The so-called “battle plan” is contained in detailed briefing notes that the Daily News has seen. One of the points highlights how the prince wants the recognition to be set aside.
His assertion is based on a recording of a meeting between King Misuzulu and Andile at Kyalami, in Johannesburg, weeks before the certificate of recognition was granted in March.
In the recording, which the Daily News has heard, Andile tells King Misuzulu that he has access to the presidency.
“Obviously I have access to the highest office in the country and there are certain opportunities for me to engage our families … because we are families now,” he says in the recording.
In the wake of the recording, which is now going to form part of the legal battle to play out before the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, some in the royal court feel there is an attempt to capture the king and the throne by Ramaphosa.
“There are also meetings between Mr Andile Ramaphosa and Prince Misuzulu wherein Andile Ramaphosa made some undertakings to assist Prince Misuzulu’s bid with his dad, the president, in return for Prince Misuzulu ensuring that the president gets a nod from KZN (ANC). A picture is available and a voice recording of their meeting can be made available to you … Meanwhile, the president has also been meeting and talking to the Prince Buthelezi faction only, on the issues of succession; before and after the Madondo judgment. Buthelezi issued statements to that effect.
“But he, the president, never discussed anything with the faction supporting Prince Simakade … The conduct of the president was so concerning to the royal family that it asked advocate Luthuli to write a letter to the president to raise the concerns of the royal family about his conduct, which created a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the president. But the president never responded,” the notes read.
In that regard, the notes allege that Ramaphosa appeared to have used the matter to bargain for his political interests. “It would seem that his political and economic interests tampered with his objective judgment. Having said all that, we were pleased to hear that the prince’s chances on facts and the law are good.”
Prince Simakade’s lawyer, Johannes Hammann, confirmed that they recently had a meeting with the prince in Johannesburg and mapped a way forward. He also said they were going ahead with their legal action and would file the papers in the early weeks of May.
Both Andile and the presidency did not respond when asked by the Daily News to comment on suspicions among those opposed to King Misuzulu that the monarch was being slowly captured.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, said he would not comment while Andile, who was sent detailed questions a week ago, said nothing at all.
Zulu historian Professor Sihawu Ngubane, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, dismissed the insinuations that the Ramaphosas abused power to capture the monarch by speeding up the recognition. He said the court case and succession to the throne were two different issues that should not be confused as the king was born, not elected.
“The legal battle of the Zulu throne is detached from customs and traditional principles of sitting the king on the throne. In terms of customary law, a king is born and not elected,” he said.
“To respond to the involvement of government and the final approval, it is for gazetting purpose as laid down by Traditional Khoi-San Leadership Act 2021. Previously, the Traditional and Governance Act 2003 was applicable by Cogta (Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs).”
Political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, of the University of the Western Cape, concurred with Ngubane. He said the claim by Prince Simakade was baseless as the tradition on succession was clear and it was followed in recognising King Misuzulu.
The king’s aide and spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu, said their hands were tied as the matter is sub judice.
“We cannot comment on a matter that is yet to be heard by the Pretoria High Court,” he said when asked to comment on the accusations that the monarch was being captured.