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S/Africa: Zulu royal family’s succession battle spills to court

Trouble is brewing in South Africa's Zulu Royal Family following the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's first wife's decision to…

Trouble is brewing in South Africa’s Zulu Royal Family following the late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s first wife’s decision to seek the court’s assistance in the execution of his will a month after he died at a hospital.According to a royal family statement, the dispute is over who is the right heir to succeed the late king as the new occupant of the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace, the royal family’s headquarters in KwaZulu Natal Province.

Zwelithini’s first wife MaDlamini, whom he married in “community of property,” is said to have challenged the execution of his will which names an unnamed candidate to succeed him as the next occupant for the Zulu throne, the statement said.

MaDlamini is not related to the late regent of the Zulu nation, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu who will be laid to rest on Thursday following her “shocking” death last week.

MaDlamini has demanded to get the courts involved in translating the will’s authenticity, the statement said.

In the statement, the royal palace said the first matter before the court related to the declaration of the late monarch’s civil union versus the subsequent “customary” unions.

A court decision on these two issues would provide clarity on dealing with matters of inheritance and succession to the throne, the statement said.

Some of Zwelithini’s daughters are said to be the main powers behind the disputing of the validity of his last will and testament, alleging that their father’s signature was forged.

The relief sought from the courts, therefore, was to halt the execution of the will until the pending matters were heard, the statement said.

Zulu Nation Traditional Prime Minister Buthelezi, however, said the royal acrimony would be sorted out in time by bringing the various sides together for a solution.  

The family dispute is happening at a time when the palace is mourning the late Regent MaDlamini, who married Zwelithini from her neighbouring eSwatini home in 1973, is lying in state pending her funeral on Thursday.

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