Traditional leaders endorse Masindi
The National House of Traditional Leaders and its Limpopo house have declared Princess Masindi Mphephu the rightful heir and queen of the Vhavhenda Kingdom, dethroning current king Toni Peter Mphephu- Ramabulana and limiting his position to that of an assistant to the queen.
This details are contained in submissions made by the two traditional groups to the high court in Thohoyandou last month as per the order by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which had tasked the two traditional bodies to advise the court on the traditions and customs o appointing a king or queen.
This is a further blow for Mphephu-Ramabulana, who was found to have received a dodgy R17-million payment from VBS, eroding the savings of poor pensioners in the former Venda homeland and contributing to the collapse of the bank.
The decision to endorse Princess Masindi as the queen of the VhaVenda follows a judgment by the SCA, which reviewed and set aside a decision by the Thohoyandou high court to recognise Mphephu-Ramabulana as the king of the VhaVenda.
Princess Masindi had challenged the ascendency of Mphephu- Ramabulana, who is her late father’s younger brother, arguing that she was the rightful leader and was being discriminated against because she was a woman.
Princess Masindi and her legal team, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu, had interdicted Mphephu- Ramabulana’s coronation, stating that he was just a regent, and not the rightful heir to the throne.
They said Princess Masindi, as the only child of the late King Tshimangazo Dimbanyika
Elias Mphephu, was he only one eligible to lead the VhaVenda nation.
But despite winning the first round of the court battle, Ramabulana- Mphephu has now been dealt a serious blow by the traditional leaders’ submissions on the case.
The two houses have not only officially confirmed Princess Masindi as the rightful heir over his claim to the kingship, but have revealed that
he was an Ndumi who does not qualify to take over as the king of the VhaVenda because his role is that of an assistant to either the king or queen.
“In this regard, the current king, Toni Peter Mphephu- Ramabulana was appointed Ndumi of his late half-brother Tshimangadzo Dimbanyika Elias Mphephu.
His appointment is Ndumi automatically disqualified him from succeeding in a position of traditional leadership,” reads the two bodies’
joint submission to the court. The two houses said the princess was born from the Dzekiso wife as per the culture and norms and therefore qualifies to succeed.
A Dzekiso wife is born of royalty whose bride price is paid for by the husband’s family and not the husband himself.
“The basic rule that cannot be overlooked in the custom of VhaVenda is that the successor must be born from a Dzekiso wife. The qualification should not be based on when was the potential successor born, but is the successor born from the Dzekiso wife….Princess Masindi was conceived after her mother was married as a Dzekiso wife as per the wishes of the royal family,” said the two houses in
Toni Mphephu Ramabulana’s lawyer wished not to comment, saying “the matter is sub judice“.
Princess Masindi said: “I have gone through the submissions and happy that they confirm what i have been asserting all along.
“I said from the very first day and said during the interdict application and repeated to be upheld by the SCA in Bloemfontein that I am the rightful successor to my fathers throne. But I have been ignored.”
By Aubrey Mothombeni