The SCA has set aside former President Jacob Zuma’s decision to install Toni Mphephu Ramabulana as king of Vhavenda, ruling on Friday that his appointment was illegal and unconstitutional, notes a report in The Citizen.

Ramabulana was among the 53 shareholders, business people, politicians and traditional leaders who were cited in the Great Bank Heist report for having wrongly benefited from the now liquidated bank. Ramabulana’s troubles started after the Reserve Bank report stated he had received a ‘gratuitous payment’ of more than R17m from VBS. The king said he would pay back the money as soon as he was told where to make the repayment and the terms of such a repayment.

Princess Masindi Mphephu had approached the High Court (Thohoyandou) for an interdict to stop the coronation of Ramabulana, which she was granted pending the outcome of a legal challenge. Masindi, the princess of the Mphephu royal family, then took Zuma and Ramabulana, her cousin, to court, claiming she was the rightful heir to the Vhavenda throne.

The SCA said the decision to recognise Ramabulana as the rightful king ‘promotes gender discrimination’.

The court declared that ‘the decisions of the eighth respondent (the Royal Family Council) to identify and that of the second respondent (Zuma) to recognise the first respondent as King of Vhavenda are based on a criterion that promotes gender discrimination, and are reviewed and set aside in that the discrimination impedes compliance with the provisions of section 2A(4)(c) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act 23 of 2009, to progressively advance gender representation in the succession to the position of King or Queen of Vhavenda.’

Full report in The Citizen

Mphephu v Mphephu-Ramabulana & others