The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein has set aside the 2012 decision by former President Jacob Zuma to declare Toni Mphephu-Ramabulana as the king of the VhaVenda Traditional Community.

The court has also declared unlawful the August 2010 decision by the Mphephu-Ramabulana Royal Family Council to recognise Toni Mphephu-Ramabulana as King of Vhavenda. Princess Masindi Mphephu took the matter to the SCA, arguing that the customary law of male succession which led to the recognition of her uncle, Toni Mphephu-Ramabulana, as the king of VhaVenda violated her right to equality.

The SCA has ordered both the President and the Limpopo Premier to refer the customary law and custom matters to the National House of Traditional Leaders.

SCA’s Justice Christiaan van der Merwe says the matter would be referred back to the High Court in Polokwane for further adjudication.

“It is declared that of the decision eighth responded of 14 August 2010 to identify the First respondent as the suitable person to be appointed as a king of the VhaVenda  traditional community is unlawful unconstitutional and invalid and it is reviewed and set aside.  It is declared that the decision of the second respondent dated 14th September 2012 to recognise the first respondent as the first king of their VhaVenda traditional community published in Traditional Leadership and Governance framework equity 1 of 2003 recognition Mr Toni Peter Mphephu-Ramabulana as king of VhaVenda community GNR 766 Government Gazette 35 705 of 21 September 2012 is unlawful unconstitutional and invalid and it is reviewed and set aside,” says van der Merwe.

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