Heir to throne appeals to ConCourt

2013-06-12 19:08
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will hear an application for leave to appeal on Thursday against a high court order in a dispute over who is the rightful king of the AmaMpondo AseQawukeni.

The High Court in Pretoria confirmed President Jacob Zuma's acceptance of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims' decision that Zanuzuko Tyelovuyo Sigcau was the rightful king.

However Justice Mpondombini Sigcau challenged the finding. He succeeded his father, Botha Sigcau, as paramount chief of AmaMpondo AseQawukeni in 1978 under legislation applicable at the time.

The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act provides that the commission can investigate whether paramountcies under the pre-Constitutional legislation should be recognised as kingships or queenships.

The kingship of the AmaMpondo AseQawukeni was recognised in this way.

After Zanuzuko Tyelovuyo referred a dispute to the commission claiming he was in fact the king and not Justice Mpondombini, the commission investigated and found his claim was valid.

It made the recommendation to the president, who confirmed it.

Justice Mpondombini then sought to have Zuma's decision reviewed in the high court, but failed.

Customary law

The dispute related to the effect of certain amendments to the act, under which provisions Zuma made his decision to recognise Zanuzuko Tyelovuyo.

Justice Mpondombini argued Zuma should have made the decision under the provisions of the unamended act.

Under the unamended act, the president would have to refer the matter to the then existing royal family before deciding whether to recognise the new king. He also argued that the commission erred in its approach to the recommendation.

The president, Zanuzuko Tyelovuyo and the commission, dispute this. They argued that although the president appeared to have assumed that he was obliged to refer to the new act, he should have dealt with it in terms of the unamended act. However, they contended it would not make any practical difference.

In the Constitutional Court, the Centre for Law and Society had been admitted as a friend of the court.

The centre submitted that the application of living customary law did not permit the determination of leadership disputes which excluded the community. It proposed that the matter be remitted to the traditional community for its determination, in accordance with its customary law.

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