Sithembile Mbuyazi will not give up until her son succeeds to the position of inkosi of KwaMbonambi in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mbuyazi — the widow of Inkosi Sibusiso Mbuyazi — went to battle in the courts in 2010, when her husband died while in the middle of a court case disputing his removal from the chieftaincy. On Thursday her case came before the Constitutional Court.
Mbuyazi is asking for an order to allow her to fight for her son’s right to succeed, as per customary law.
The battle for the position of inkosi — between Mbuyazi and her husband’s brother Mkhanyiseni Mbonambi — has seen them go back and forth between the high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, the KwaZulu-Natal premier’s lawyers told the Constitutional Court.
Mbuyazi’s lawyers argued that the high court, by rescinding an earlier order that the dispute go to trial, had misinterpreted an appeal court judgment and in effect overturned its decision. Mbuyazi hopes the ConCourt will correct this and return the matter to the high court.
Mbuyazi’s counsel, Glen Goddard, said the rightful inkosi must be determined separately in a trial. He emphasised that Mbuyazi “feels she and her son have been greatly prejudiced by the protracted delay”.
Counsel for the premier of Kwazulu-Natal, Alastair Dickson, said his client’s main concern “is to ensure that litigation does not go on for another decade because of the effect on the community, which cannot go on without proper leadership”.
KwaMbonambi is split into factions so hostile that the appointment of a placeholder ibambabukhosi (regent) while litigation continues has caused more tensions.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said he did not “understand why no human being in KZN would be found acceptable [as a regent]”.
Acting Judge Daniel Dlodlo said a trial to determine whether the inkosi was wrongfully removed would help to explain why he was deposed.
Judgment was reserved.