The VhaVenda kingdom and the SA government have both said they would respect last week’s court interdict to suspend the planned coronation for VhaVenda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana.
The Limpopo High Court sitting in Thohoyandou granted Masindi Mphephu an interdict to stop the coronation pending the outcome of a legal challenge.
Masindi, the princess of the Mphephu royal family, dragged South African President Jacob Zuma and Toni, her cousin, to court, claiming she was the rightful heir to the VhaVenda throne.
The high court accepted representations by Masindi’s legal team that the coronation must be halted until a pending legal review on the Mphephu dynasty status.
The court heard that Masindi believed she was overlooked for the throne because of cultural practice that endorsed only males for kingship.
“Government noted the decision of the High Court in Venda, Thohoyandou, on September 2, 2016. The court granted an interdict to the planned coronation of his majesty King Tony Mphephu Ramabulana that was scheduled to take place on Friday,” said the department of cooperative governance (Cogta) in a statement.
“As government we respect the decision of the court as an arbiter on all the legal questions in our country, and we will also abide by its decision.”
Government, in consultation with the Vha Venda royal family, then announced the postponement of the planned coronation until all the legal issues had been addressed and concluded.
Government, however, said a new date of the processes for the coronation of the VhaVenda King would be announced at a later stage.
The Mphephu royal family also said it respected the ruling by the court and would abide by it.
Family advisor and spokesperson, Jackson Mafunzwaini, said the family welcomed the decision and insisted that Toni is the rightful leader of the VhaVenda.
Last month the government had announced the Mphephu coronation as part of the process aimed at restoring the kingdom which had collapsed under the apartheid government.
The dispute arose after the kingdom was endorsed by Zuma after the Nhlapo Commission that was tasked to investigate chieftaincy, queenship and kingship disputes, revealed that Mphephu was the correct family to ascend the throne.
African News Agency (ANA)