The royal family representing Wezizwe Feziwe Sigcau should have launched a legal challenge to review the 2010 Nhlapo Commission’s decision which stated that Zanozuko Tyelovuyo Sigcau was the king of amaMpondo aseQaukeni.
This was the submission made in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the president of the country‚ in opposing her bid to become queen.
Wezizwe is the daughter of the late amaMpondo aseQaukeni paramount chief‚ Mpondobini Justice Sigcau‚ who was removed as king by the decision of the commission in 2010.
The commission‚ formally known as the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims‚ replaced him with King Zanozuko Sigcau. Following the decision‚ Mpondombini Sigcau challenged then-president Jacob Zuma’s decision in relying on the amended law in giving notices meant to give effect to the commission’s decision.
Mpondombini claimed the president should have consulted the royal family before implementing the decision of the commission.
The Constitutional Court in 2013 set aside the notices that Zuma put out recognising Zanozuko Sigcau as king and deposing Mpondombini as paramount chief. The court’s 2013 decision was expected to settle the question of kingship which has dogged the amaMpondo aseQaukeni nation since 1937‚ when King Mandlonke died without issue.
The 2013 judgment came three months after Mpondombini’s death.
His daughter Wezizwe believed that she should be queen to take over from her father‚ following the setting aside of Zuma’s notice by the Constitutional Court.
The royal council met in October 2013 and nominated Wezizwe to be the queen.
Her family informed the president of its decision and requested him to appoint Wezizwe as queen.
But the president approached the high court in 2014 seeking an order declaring that Wezizwe had no right to claim the position as queen of amaMpondo aseQaukeni.
In its judgment in 2015‚ the high court in Pretoria said there was no need for the president to consult with the royal family in implementing the commission’s decision.
The high court also found that the commission’s mandate under the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003 was to make decisions on traditional leadership claims and disputes‚ and for the president to immediately implement the commission’s decisions.
Last year‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Wezizwe’s appeal.
Wezizwe Sigcau’s counsel‚ Patric Mtshaulana SC‚ told the court on Tuesday that section 9(3) of the Act stated that where there was an allegation that a person identified as queen or king was not done in terms of customary law‚ the president may refer the matter to the National House of Traditional Leaders for its consideration.
Mtshaulana said this section applied to her case as there was evidence that the commission’s decision regarding Zanozuko Sigcau was not made in accordance with the customary law and customs of amaMpondo.
However‚ Norman Arendse SC‚ for the president and the department‚ said the approach favoured by Wezizwe Sigcau would result in the duplication of the task that the commission undertook when it investigated the competing claims for kingship.
The court reserved judgment.
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