Government to abide ruling that Zanozuko Sigcau is rightful amaMpondo king

2018-09-14 21:06

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Following years of legal disputes, the government says it will abide by a Constitutional Court ruling that implements a decision made by the Nlapho Commission that granted Zanozuko Tyelovuyo Sigcau kingship of amaMpondo aseQaukeni.

The Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has described the ruling, handed down on Tuesday, as fair.

Kingship over the royal household for this Lusikisiki community in the Eastern Cape, has reportedly been in dispute since 1937 when King Mandlonke died.

The legal debacle over rightful leadership began in 2010 after former president Jacob Zuma recognised Zanozuko as king and dismissed the claim of Mphondombini Sigcau, following the findings of the commission on traditional leadership disputes and claims, also known as the Nhlapo Commission. 

However, in 2013 the Constitutional Court set aside Zuma's announcement, published in the government gazette, that Zanozuko was king, saying the president had acted under the amended act instead of the unamended act. The court said its decision was limited to the notice and certificate issued by Zuma. 

Mpondombini died before the court's judgment, but his family felt that the Constitutional Court had vindicated him and nominated his daughter Wezizwe Sigcau as queen.

Cogta and Zuma challenged this decision in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Both parties argued that the law did not require the president to consult the royal family to identify a king. The court agreed.

Following a failed application to the Supreme Court of Appeal, Wezizwe turned to the Constitutional Court.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the Constitutional Court said it agreed Zanozuko was king. It said that since the court had handed down its judgment in 2013, "nothing had been done by anybody" to pursue the application for the review and setting aside the commission's decision".

The ruling further stated that five years had lapsed since the Constitutional Court's decision in 2013.

"The case must be decided on the basis that the decision of the commission that Zanozuko is entitled to be king stands." 

"The decision of the commission has not been set aside. That being the case, as long as the decision of the commission stands, the first applicant (Wezizwe Feziwe Sigcau) cannot be entitled to be the king or queen either."

Cogta says that in line with the court's latest ruling, the government must now issue a certificate of recognition that Zanozuko is the king of the amaMpondo aseQaukeni, and it must be published in the government gazette.

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