A complaint to the Press Ombudsman that Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini's proper title was not used every time he was mentioned in a Daily Dispatch story, has been dismissed. A News24 report notes that in the complaint, ‘Tristan Gouws’ complained that in the story, Zwelithini's name was mentioned seven times without his ‘title, status or surname’ being used.

It is not clear from the complaint who Gouws is or if he is connected to the royal household in any way, says the report. The complaint was about a story run by the Daily Dispatch on 17 September, headlined: ‘Zwelithini chosen to enrobe E Cape king’.

According to the Press Ombudsman's ruling, the Daily Dispatch's internal ombud, Kariem Hassan, said it was the paper's style to only use a person's title once.

Thereafter, the paper would use the person's surname, not as a sign of disrespect, ‘but rather to have a fluid copy flow which is not cluttered by too many honorifics’.

Press Ombudsman Johan Retief dismissed the complaint and said: 'The practice to mention somebody's title only when that person is first mentioned in a story is an accepted journalistic practice, both in this country and internationally.'

But a spokesperson for the King, Prince Thulani Zulu said that the ombudsman had no right to tell newspapers that this practice was allowed. ‘We do not condone addressing the king by his surname. We take it as a sign of disrespect,’ he said. He added that the ombudsman should have consulted with Zwelithini before making its ruling.

Full News24 report

Full Daily Dispatch report

Ruling