Battle for Balobedu throne set to head back to court

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The battle for the Balobedu throne at Modjadji outside Tzaneen in Limpopo is set to head back to court soon. These as legal representatives of the late Queen Makobo Modjadji the 6th daughter, Princess Masalanabo, plans to lodge an urgent interdict in the High Court in Pretoria.

The princess and her foster parents, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her husband and ANC MP Doctor Mathole Motshekga are opposed to the installation of Prince Lekukela, the brother of the princess, this weekend.

Princess Masalanabo’s lawyer Mathews Phosa says,”We’ve already started legal action. There’s a court case coming on the 10th of October to finalize this matter. And we have heard that some of the uncles are being naughty to try and stage a phantom inauguration on the first of October to try and anticipate the court case, just a bit unfortunate. We have been given them a notice on Friday, what we call in law cease and desist. If they don’t give notice that they will not have proposed phantom in operation, we will launch an interdict against all of them.”

The Modjadji Royal Council says its all systems go for the installation of the next heir to the Balobedu throne scheduled to take place at the Khetlhakoni Royal Palace outside Modjadjiskloof from Friday to Sunday.

The royal council in April 2021 announced that the late Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji, the 6th son Prince Lekukela, would ascend the throne, instead of his sister Princess Masalanabo. The council says a three-day traditional installation ceremony, filled with sacred rites will start on Friday night, in the presence of a selected few inside the palace.

When the status of the Balobedu Queenship was officially restored in 2016 by then Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen, SABC News reported about an agreement that had been made between the royal family and government.

The agreement stated that Princess Masalanabo was the rightful heir to the Queenship and that she would ascend the throne after turning 18. The princess was only 12 years old at the time and will turn 18 in January next year.

In April last year, the royal council stated that they had made the decision for the prince to ascend the throne instead of the princess as the family had had no access to the princess over the years. Princess Malasanabo resides in Gauteng with her foster parents Motshekga and her husband.

Historically the Modjadji Dynasty was led by a female monarch for the past 200 years. Prior to that, the Dynasty had male heirs on the throne. The royal council insists the decision to install Prince Lekukela is merely reverting to their traditional ways.

Adv. Ngoako Moropene on Prince Lekukela being appointed as the leader for the Balobedu nation:

Princess Masalanabo’s legal representative however describes this as robbing her of her birthright.

Meanwhile, the Modjadji Royal Council spokesperson Ronny Moroatshehla says the planned installation ceremony will go ahead as planned.

“There is only one thing which can stop us on our tracks with regard to this traditional and customary ceremony that we are going to do. It is number one, the advice from our legal team and number two, it could be the court of law, not just a mere letter, which says we must cease and desist. The final decision taken is that we are going to write up to oppose any form of interdict that will come our way,” says Moroatshehla.

It remains to be seen if the installation will go ahead as planned. It is also not yet clear if the installation of a male heir will in any way affect government’s recognition of the Queenship.