By John Ikani
A new Zulu King can be crowned in South Africa after a court settled a dispute on Wednesday over whether the Prince named as heir to the throne last year had a rightful claim to it.
The Zulu nation has been without a leader for almost a year after the death of King Goodwill Zwelithini.
His wife, and Interim Regent, Queen Mantfombi Dlamini died shortly after him which has led to an ongoing dispute over succession and inheritance.
Before her death, she appointed her son, Prince Misuzulu KaZwelithini, a move some royal family members disagreed with.
Two Zulu princesses said the late king’s will had been forged and went to court to stop Misuzulu’s coronation.
A KwaZulu-Natal high court judge in the city of Pietermaritzburg ruled that Misuzulu was the “undisputed successor to the throne” giving the go-ahead for South Africa to witness the first Zulu coronation in more than half a century and the first in the country’s post-apartheid era.
Justice Isaac Madondo however suspended the execution of the late king’s will pending a court hearing to decide on its authenticity. King Zwelithini’s fortune has been estimated at $20 million.
The Zulu King has a largely ceremonial role in South Africa but holds great significance for the 12 million Zulus who make up the country’s largest ethnic group. The king also inherits control over large portions of land and a significant fortune.