VhaVenda princess gets another chance to challenge throne

Princess Masindi Mphephu. Picture: Wikus de Wet
Princess Masindi Mphephu. Picture: Wikus de Wet

The Venda royal family has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision to grant the contender to the VhaVenda throne Masindi Mphephu another chance in her bid to unseat her uncle King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana.

Masindi applied for leave to appeal Limpopo Judge President Justice Makgoba’s judgement which dismissed her application to have the decision to recognise and install Mphephu Ramabulana as the King of the VhaVenda by the royal family council set aside.

The Bloemfontein-based SCA granted her leave to appeal on Thursday and the royal family immediately said they were ready for another face-off in court.

“We welcome the decision of the SCA as it continues to afford the applicant platform to exhaust all possible remedies in her endeavours,” said legal counsel for the royal family Paul Makhavhu.

Masindi said last week that she was prepared to fight all the way to the Constitutional Court something which is also anticipated by the royal family.

“This (SCA) is one but the last step before the matter finally goes to Constitutional Court to be ventilated and decided,” Makhavhu said adding that they have been down that route before.

“It is the same and familiar route we travelled between 2005 and 2012 when His Majesty King TP Mphephu Ramabulana and the royal family fought for the restoration of VhaVenda Kingship.

"The Ramabulana Royal Family remains firm and unshaken on its decision (recognising the incumbent as the King) which they made in 1998 and 2010 respectively,” he said.

This is the decision Masindi is challenging in the main.

The 25-year-old Princess also believes that she is being sidelined because she is a woman.

She now wants the SCA to “declare invalid the customary law rule of male primogeniture to the extent that it precludes women from succeeding to the position of traditional leader”.

Masindi was adamant that she was next in line to the throne. Her father Tshimangadzo Dimbanyika Mphephu was he Paramount Chief of the VhaVenda when he was killed in a car accident in December 1997.

She was about six years.

She has argued that being the “only child” of the late Paramount Chief; she should lead VhaVenda and not her uncle, the incumbent king.

Masindi said her hope has been revived by the SCA’s decision to grant her leave to appeal.

”It gives me hope that we’re heading in the right direction and I am optimistic...victory is imminent,” she said.

“It won’t end in the SCA though... Constitutional Court is next. I will fight all the way there for what is rightfully mine.”

Before she got her application dismissed this year by Justice Makgoba, Masindi had already managed to get an interdict stopping President Jacob Zuma’s planned coronation of Mphephu Ramabulana in September last year pending finalisation of her court legal bid to dethrone the latter.

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