Traditional leaders in Venda, Limpopo, have called for Vhavenda people to work together and unite behind King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana.
This follows the dismissal last week of the application challenging the kingship brought to court by young Venda princess, Masindi Clementine Mphephu, against her uncle, King Ramabulana.
Chief Thovhele Vho-Mbangiseni Masia said traditional leaders were glad that the court had finally adjudicated on the matter and “therefore we expect all of us to respect the judgment and work towards a better tomorrow that is characterised by unity with a purpose to solidify the Vhavenda kingship”.
He said the judgment this week in favour of King Ramabulana was expected because “the issues have always been clear from the onset”. Masindi had challenged President Jacob Zuma’s decision to recognise her uncle as king.
The Thohoyandou High Court dismissed her application to set aside the decision regarding the right to the throne. Judge-President Ephraim Makgoba said he would provide the reasons for the decision next year owing to the delay brought about by the festive break.
Those who attended the proceedings in support of King Ramabulana told City Press Masindi also lost the argument that she was being discriminated against because she was a woman and that the family’s tradition did not recognise women as leaders.
“The judge said the argument was unfounded because after the death of Patrick Ramaano Mphephu, the family appointed Phophi Vho-Mphephu, who is a woman, as regent,” said a source close to the royal family. He said the judge pointed out that the family never advanced that argument as their submission to the court.
King Ramabulana was represented by Advocate Norman Arendse SC, who told the court that Masindi’s application was both “opportunistic and lacking any basis in law and fact.”
With the legal tug of war that played out in court coming to the end, the Mphephu Ramabulana Royal family also echoed calls for peace and unity.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Japan Mphephu Ramabulana said: “We are of the view that this is an opportune time for us to come together as a family and fulfil our responsibility and mandate of leading this great nation of Vhavenda.
“We believe that people have been long waiting for a day when, as the royal family, we will put our differences behind us and bring development through a stronger and united kingship,” he said.