Royal battle looms in Limpopo

A woman who is locked in a royal battle with the king of the VhaVenda hopes the high court will rule in her favour next week and instate her as the rightful heir to the throne.

Masindi Mphephu has allegedly been sidelined from ascendency as her father Chief Dimbanyika Tshimangadzo Ramabulana’s (Khosikhulu Tshimangadzo Mphephu) royal successor because she’s a woman.

Masindi Mphephu‚ 25‚ who is the only legitimate child of former VhaVenda king Khosikhulu Tshimangadzo Mphephu‚ who died in a car crash in 1997‚ has been locked in a court battle with the current king‚ her uncle‚ Toni Mphephu Ramabulana.

Ramabulana was recognised by President Jacob Zuma as king in 2012‚ but Masindi wants the High Court in Thohoyandou in Limpopo to set aside that decision.

“We maintain she is the rightful heir to the throne‚” said Masindi’s spokesperson‚ Lufuno Ramabulana.

Masindi wants the court to overturn a decision made by the royal family council in 2010‚ which installed her uncle as king instead of her‚ with the council saying one of the main reasons was that the VhaVenda had never had a woman leader‚ and that it should never have one.

In new papers filed appealing a decision by the court last year‚ Masindi maintains that her uncle isn’t the rightful heir to the throne.

“This would be a knowing misrepresentation by the State of the factual and legal position‚ which would undermine the rule of law and the pending court process‚ and would offence the constitutional principles of rationality‚ reliance and transparency‚” her papers said.

“It would also be inconsistent with the President’s own public statement that the position of the incumbency of the king of the VhaVenda nation is still subject to the deliberations and decision of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims‚” she said.

Masindi said allowing the coronation to “proceed would undermine‚ and may even pre-empt‚ the court’s final determination of the legitimacy and State recognition” of Toni to serve as king.

Her spokesperson said: “Masindi is entitled to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court because she’s got constitutional matters to raise.”

In an earlier affidavit‚ Toni said: “I submit that [the] VhaVenda people are entitled to stable and consistent leadership… Thus far‚ my leadership and rule of the Kingdom has been disturbed at every turn by various persons who persistently form views that they are entitled to the position that I occupy.”

Toni maintains that the courts have consistently vindicated him and his position that he is the rightful heir to the throne.

The matter is set to be heard on appeal in the Thohoyandou High Court next Thursday‚ May 25. – Tiso Black Star Group/Jan Bornman

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