The legal battle for the VhaVenda Kingdom between King Toni Ramabulana-Mphephu and his niece Princess Masindi Mphephu has hit a snag once again.
The Constitutional Court has dismissed with costs and declared as invalid an application by King Ramabulana-Mphephu. He approached the highest court in the land seeking to have the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling that Masindi was eligible to lead VhaVenda as Queen, set aside.
In April 2019, the SCA found that former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to appoint Mphephu-Ramabulana as the acting king of VhaVenda was illegal and unconstitutional. It stated that such a decision promoted gender discrimination.
Ramabulana ascended to the throne after his elder brother Chief Tshimangadzo Mphephu resigned in 1994 and subsequently died in a car accident.
Legal expert, Advocate Ntuwiseni Ralikhuvhana explains: “One thing that comes out is the VhaVenda nation doesn’t have a king as it stands. The ConCourt declared invalid the SCA’s and president’s decision when issuing the certificate to the current king to act as a king. So, the matter must go back to the High Court for adjudication. It simply means there’s no king as it stands.”
Ralikhuvhana says it remains the responsibility of both parties to decide on a neutral interim leadership while the matter goes back to the High Court for adjudication.
“Nobody must take over. However, it is the decision of the royal family to sit and put a regent while the matter is still being dealt with by the courts. The court did not pronounce on that, but to say that the matter must go back to court adjudication. After that adjudication then the nation will know who their real king is. As it stands the court did not answer the question of who the real king is,” Ralikhuvhana adds.
In the meantime, it appears the decade-long battle to determine who will be the king or queen of the VhaVenda is far from over. And it remains to be seen who will take over as a regent for the Vha-Venda nation as the legal battle continues.
In this video, the court declared unlawful Toni Mphephu-Ramabulana as VhaVenda king: