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Chris Ndaliso
Senior journalist
3 minute read
7 Feb 2022

Zulu royals await outcome of Mchunu report

Chris Ndaliso

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier, Willies Mchunu, has handed over a report of the government-appointed panel into the Zulu royal household’s dispute over the heir to the throne.

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier, Willies Mchunu, has handed over a report of the government-appointed panel into the Zulu royal household’s dispute over the heir to the throne.

The report, which Mchunu submitted to the presidency, as well as the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) ministry, relates to the tension over the legitimacy of de facto Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini in leading the Zulu nation.

This followed the death of King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu in March last year.

Mchunu appointed Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the panel to investigate the dispute over the throne, as per the directive of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa is yet to grant the kingship certificate to King Misizulu, whose ascension to the throne is being challenged by several royal family members in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

Last week, Mchunu told The Witness that the panel handed the report over to Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa early this year.

Mchunu said:

“The minister and the president will decide on what action is to be taken and when. It is the president and the minister’s prerogative to action the report, and I can’t discuss its contents.”

Meanwhile, the Zulu royal household is waiting with bated breath to hear what Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma make of the report, and whether their recommendations will resolve the impasse.

King Misuzulu’s spokesperson Prince Africa Zulu told The Witness that they had not received any communication from the presidency or Cogta on the matter.

He said their last engagement with Mchunu was when he called the royal household to a meeting at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace, in Nongoma, on January 22.

At that meeting, Mchunu told everyone in attendance that his panel had finalised the engagements with all parties concerned in the matter.

Customary law recommended 

Mchunu was captured on video assuring those in attendance that the report was leaving that same day for submission.

“He assured us that customary law was recommended to resolve this matter.

“We are now waiting for the President to affirm that report.

“Those who have challenged the King’s ascendency to the throne are not above our tradition, they are all bound by it.

“How can you expect a judge, who is foreign from our tradition, to preside and mediate on royal and traditional issues? This is a sad chapter in the history of the Zulu nation,” said Zulu.

In the video clip recorded during the January 22 meeting and verified with Zulu, Mchunu said during their consultation they had discovered that it was not only one side of the family that wanted to have a take on the matter, but three more groups also wanted to be heard.

No regent

These groups were also questioning the ascendency to the throne of King Misuzulu.

“During these consultations some from these groups suggested that there should be a regent while the matter was going through all these processes, but we said no, that cannot work because regents are controlled by the law so that’s not an option,” said Mchunu in the video.

He also told the meeting that he explained to the factions that he was just compiling a report, and he had not considered the existing court challenges related to the matter of the throne.

Cogta Ministry spokesperson Lungi Mtshali said this was a very sensitive matter and there were issues in the report that the minster needed clarity on before she presented it to the president.

“Once those issues are clarified then the report will be shared with the president,” said Mtshali.