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South African High Court Declares President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Recognition of Zulu King Misuzulu Invalid

South African High Court Declares President Cyril Ramaphosa's Recognition of Zulu King Misuzulu Invalid
Left: Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, Right: Prince Simakade Zulu

The Pretoria High Court has ruled President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recognition of Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini as the rightful monarch to be unlawful and invalid. The ruling followed an application by the royal family to determine the legitimate heir, with Prince Simakade Zulu contesting his brother Misuzulu’s claim to the throne. The court presided over by Judge Norman Davis, declared the recognition, as published in the Government Gazette of March 17, 2022, should be set aside.

Judge Davis ordered Ramaphosa to adhere to the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act, appointing an investigative committee to probe the allegations that the identification process of Misuzulu did not align with customary laws and traditions. The judgment clarified that its purpose was not to determine the rightful king of the AmaZulu.

In response to arguments presented last month, Judge Davis stated that Ramaphosa “erred in law” by not following the preemptive provisions outlined in the act. This failure, according to Davis, rendered the recognition decision susceptible to review. Prince Simakade Zulu and Mbonisi Zulu, the late King Goodwill Zwelithini’s half-brother, initiated the application challenging Ramaphosa’s recognition of Misuzulu.

The court’s decision has sparked legal and procedural debates surrounding the Zulu monarchy, emphasizing the need for adherence to established traditions and legal protocols.

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