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Queen Sibongile's bid to have court determine validity of King Goodwill Zwelithini five other marriages fails

The late King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The late King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 11, 2022

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Pietermaritzburg - The bid by Queen Sibongile Dlamini-Zulu to have the Pietermaritzburg High Court determine the validity of the other five marriages of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation has failed.

After listening to arguments, KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Judge President Mjabuliseni Isaac Madondo said the queen’s papers don't ask the court to do so and they are contradictory. As such, the request is misplaced and the request for his recusal is dismissed.

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When the case got under way on Tuesday morning at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Nigel Redman told Madondo that his client, the queen, was considering asking Madondo to recuse himself. That was because he could be conflicted as he presided over the 2014 marriage of the late King and Queen Zola Mafu, the last young queen who lives in Ulundi, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

But Madondo said the matter should proceed as there was nowhere in the queen's papers where the issue of the validity of the five marriages was not in question, so there could be no conflict of interest.

After listening to fierce arguments between Redman and advocate Griffiths Madonsela, who is representing King Misuzulu and his traditional prime minister, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Madondo said the issue of the marriages was not part of what the court should rule on.

Madondo said there is nowhere in the motion that the queen asked that the status of the marriages should be determined, noting that the marriages were there for over 30 years and they "cannot be wished away".

Madondo also noted that the status of the marriages was not subject to any determination, as even in her affidavit, Queen Sibongile conceded that the marriages are recognised, because she does not want the other queens and their children to be evicted from their palaces but was merely concerned about securing her 50% share of the late king’s estate.

The queen also said, Madondo noted, that she wanted the children of the other queens to be treated on an equal basis to her, thus conceding that the marriages are valid.

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He noted that by only making this request now, the omission was not a mistake, but deliberate.

"So there is nowhere in the papers where she is asking for that (determination of the validity of the marriages)," Madondo said.

Madondo noted that even Inkosi Buthelezi, in his replying, noted that the queen was not seeking a declaration to have the marriages nullified.

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After the dismissal, Redman said his client would like to amend their court papers, prompting Madonsela to oppose the proposal, saying they knew long ago that their papers were defective and chose to stick to their arguments.

"We ask to have the application of the amendment to be dismissed," Madonsela pleaded with the court, saying it was not of public interest, more especially that of the anxious Zulu nation.

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