Barely two months have passed since King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu passed away at the age of 73, his third wife and own choice of regent to the throne, Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu has also passed on and within a week of her passing, the king’s first wife, Queen Sibongile Dlamini is contesting parts of his will, claiming half of the estate in a court of law.
King Goodwill Zwelithini passed away on 12 March 2021 and was laid to rest in a well attended funeral despite the Covid-19 related restrictions at the time. After his interment, the traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation, Prince Mongosuthu Buthelezi announced that the king himself had decided that, should he pass on, his third wife, Dlamini-Zulu should be made regent while a successor was being decided upon. However, barely a month into her duties, she was admitted to hospital, where she succumbed to her illness. Her Majesty passed away on 29 April at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg at the age of 65. The premier of KwaZulu Natal, Sihle Zikalala has recommended to the President of the country, Cyril Ramaphosa that Dlamini-Zulu be given a state funeral.
It is against this background that Queen Sibongile Dlamini has gone to court challenging the late King’s will and claiming that she has a right to half of the estate before the will comes into effect. She states in her representations to the court that she was married to the late king in a customary practice called ukuthwala so that the late Isilo could take up the throne. “As things stand, the entire estate is owned jointly and in equal share by me and the late Isilo. This means, I own 50% of the entire estate… therefore, any attempt to dispose of the entire estate as if it was the sole property of the late Isilo is legally incompetent and impermissible,” she argues in her representations to Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Queen Sibongile Dlamini further argues that, to her knowledge, the Royal house had agreed that Prince Mbonisi, who is the late King’s brother, would act as regent to the throne until a new king took over. She insists that this is what was agreed upon during the meeting that was held by the Royal household on the 24th of March 2021. “I have no knowledge of precisely when and how the decision identifying, appointing or recommending the Second Respondent (Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu) as regent (was reached). If this in fact happened, it did not occur at the meeting of 24 March 2021,” she adds. She further argues in her representation that Dlamini-Zulu’s customary union to the late Isilo does not entitle her to ascend to the throne.
MaDlamini has also challenged the Premier, who is said to be in possession of a list of the late King’s assets and relatives, to make that list public so that it can be evident that she has an interest in the King’s estate. She also requested the court to direct the office of the premier to publish the last list that was signed by Isilo and also that it be published in the three publications of the province, Isolezwe, Ilanga, and Mercury Newspapers so that anyone who has an interest can anticipate the order.