KwaZulu-Natal government drawn into Zulu royal family battles

Lawyers for a faction of the AmaZulu royal family have accused King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini of abusing his powers by allowing the KwaZulu-Natal government to pay his legal fees.

Advocate Thabani Masuku SC argued that public funds should not be used to fund the king’s personal litigation while there were still court battles over the legitimacy of his reign.

Court arguments  

He also argued that the Ingonyama Trust had no mandate to pay the king’s legal fees. The trust was established to benefit the Zulu Kingdom, tribes, and communities in the King’s jurisdiction.


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He said pending a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals there were no obligations from the premier’s office or the board of the trust to make payments for the King.

Reports suggest that the King’s legal fees are around R8m and continue to rise.


Masuku said the government and the trust should not seen to be taking sides in the dispute over the royal throne.

“It is important because we are talking about public funds that are being used to fortify a position that is heavily contested,” he said.

Masuku sought an interdict on behalf of his clients to prohibit the government and the trust from making undue payments towards the King’s legal fees.


The king’s lawyers argued the matter was not urgent and should be struck off the roll, but the court ruled it should be heard on an urgent basis and proceedings should continue. 

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“If not stopped then the board will continue acting as it does, they will continue acting to undertake the payments they have continued to make,” he said.


Masuku has represented Prince Mbonisi Zulu in several court cases against the current king. He is a brother to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Misuzulu’s kingship has been widely contested since the passing of both his parents.