The case stems from a dispute between the Mampuru and Sekhukhune royal families.
The commission on traditional leadership disputes that the Mampuru royal family lost kingship to the Sekhukhune royal family in 1861.
Mampuru II, instead of taking the Sekhukhune’s challenge to fight for the kingship, fled and sought refuge in another traditional community.
He later returned and killed Sekhukhune I, but did not ascend the throne.
As a result, the commission determined kingship lay within the lineage of Sekhukhune I.
The Mamone royal house, which is led by Mampuru III, unsuccessfully brought an application under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act to review the commission’s decision.
It argued in the high court that the commission’s decision was irrational and based on an incorrect application of the rule that kingship could be usurped through “might and bloodshed”.
The Mamone royal house’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal was also not successful.
At the Constitutional Court, the Mamone royal house argued that the commission acted irrationally, failed to take relevant facts into account, and deviated from the principle of primogeniture, by which succession to traditional leadership is established.
The commission argued the customary law rule of usurpation through might and bloodshed was established, and applied rationally, in determining where the Bapedi kingship lay.