The Constitutional Court has set aside President Jacob Zuma’s notice recognising Zanozuko Sigcau as the king of the Eastern Pondo. The court, in a judgment delivered this morning, found that Zuma had issued the notice under the amended Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, when an earlier version of the bill was in fact the relevant law. Zuma issued the notice, which declared Zanozuko Sigcau the rightful king of the amaMpondo aseQuakeni (Eastern Pondo) in 2010, on the advice of the Nhlapo Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims. A notice was also issued, which stripped Justice Mpondombini Sigcau of the kingship. Sigcau died in March. The succession spat began in 1937 after King Mandlonke died without any children, which led to competing claims between Mandlonke’s brothers Botha and Nelson Sigcau. Botha Sigcau was eventually recognised as the “paramount chief” by the Black Administration Act, a piece of apartheid legislation which governed the so-called homelands. The age-old dispute again arose when Botha Sigcau died, this time the fight was between Justice Sigcau, Botha’s son, and Zwelidumile Sigcau, the father of Zanozuko Sigcau, whom Zuma recognised as the king. Justice Sigcau had unsuccessfully disputed the recognition of Zanozuko Sigcau in the North Gauteng High Court, which led to the litigation in the Constitutional Court. The court ruled this morning that the Nhlapo Commission’s procedures were initiated and completed under the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003, not the amended act of 2009. “The procedures under the old act thus remained in place, to be followed in respect of the final stage of the procedure, that is, the president’s notice.” The court ruled that Zuma therefore “purported to exercise powers not conferred on him by the provisions of the old act”. It pointed out that Zuma and the commission’s powers were “substantially different” between the two acts. The court thus did not deal with any of the other issues which arose in the dispute.