The judge says KK has no basis to refuse to step down. Victor Thulare, the son of the late Rhyane Thulare, is expected to ascend the throne.
THE acting king of the Bapedi in Limpopo, Kenneth Kgagudi Sekhukhune, has failed in his bid to hold onto the throne after the Pretoria High Court found that his appointment was irregular.
This has paved the way for Victor Thulare – the son of the late Rhyane Thulare who passed on in 2006 – to ascend the throne in line with the findings of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims.
Sekhukhune, affectionately known by his initials KK, brought an application to court to review and set aside the findings of the Commission and sought a declaratory order to dismiss a claim by Victor Thulare that he is the rightful heir, amongst others.
He brought the matter in conjunction with the Mohlaletsi Traditional Authority against the Commission, the President of the Republic, Minister of Provincial Affairs and Local Government and Victor Thulare.
In determining the matter, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo dealt with the historical background from the time of King Sekhukhune II and the legal matrix that gave rise to the contested issues.
Sekhukhune II was pre-deceased by his son and heir to the throne Thulare II. This meant that upon his death, there was no heir to the throne through him and his wife, Lekgolane, who was recognised as timamollo or candle wife.
Morwamoche III – the younger brother to Thulare II – was then appointed as acting king and to raise “seed” for his elder brother. Mankopodi was then married to Morwamoche III as seantlo.
Morwamoche III is KK’s father through his sixth wife, Makola. But by the time Morwamoche III died in 1965, Rhyane Thulare had been born through his union with Mankopodi.
In the judgement, Mlambo stated: “It is also common cause that even though Rhyane Thulare and KK Sekhukhune were in effect brothers, their mothers were different, and they belonged to separate royal houses i.e Rhyane Thulare belonged to the senior House of Thulare in which resided the Kingship of the tribe.
“KK Sekhukhune belonged to the junior House of Morwamoche. This factual matrix is common cause and there is further no dispute that Rhyane Thulare’s name in the Sekhukhune Kingship lineage is Sekhukhune III and that he was the rightful and legitimate heir to the Bapedi Kingship throne.”
At the time of Morwamoche III’s death, Rhyane Thulare was still too young to ascend the throne and his mother, Mankopodi, was installed as the Regent. However, as time goes on, factions prevailed in the area and Mankpodi was dethroned.
The resultant violence also led to Rhyane Thulare leaving the area for Seshego township outside Polokwane. At some stage, Rhyane Thulare was fetched by one faction to take the reins, but instead went to fetch his mother – a matter that caused a further impasse.
His refusal to take over the reins from his mother without consultation was seen by another faction as abdication. KK was then appointed as acting king – a decision which was endorsed by the then Lebowa government in 1976. However, Rhyane Thulare asserted his right to the throne and KK was deposed, but this led to numerous litigation.
After dealing with the historical background and the legal matrix, Mlambo in his judgement further stated: “The reasoning of the Commission is clearly located within the customs and customary laws of the Bapedi at the time of the unfolding of the events in question. No argument has been raised to suggest that the Commission overlooked any aspect of the customs and customary laws of the Bapedi in reaching this conclusion.
“In a nutshell, no argument suggesting any irregularity on the part of the Commission has been advanced regarding its investigation and conclusion regarding KK Sekhukhune’s appointment. In the circumstances, no other conclusion can be made other than that the Commission’s conclusion must stand.
“Having reached the conclusions above, the declaratory relief sought by the applicants also stands to be refused. KK Sekhukhune has no basis whatsoever to refuse to step down as Acting Kgosikgolo.”
KK and the Mohlaletsi Traditional Authority, as applicants in the matter, were ordered to pay legal costs.
In 2011, the Commission released the following information:
- The following kings received their recognition certificates; King Mpendulo Calvin Sigcau of AmaXhosa, King Ndamase KaNdamase of the AmaMpondo of Nyandeni, King Makosoke Enock Mabhena of the AmaNdebele, King Mbusi Mahlangu of AmaNdebele of Ndzundza, King Lekunutu Cavandish Mota of Batlokwa and King Mopeli Thokoana Mopeli of the Bakwena.
- The investigations by the Commission revealed that the Amahlubi, AmaShangane, AmaKwayi, AmaKhonjwayo, AmaSwati akaMlambo and AmaMpondomise did not have Kingships at all and therefore all their claims were dismissed.
- The Kings who had not yet received their recognition certificates were King Zwelithini Goodwill Zulu of AmaZulu, King Zwelibanzi Dalindy’ebo of AbaThembu, King Thulare Victor Thulare of Bapeli and King Toni Peter Mphephu of VhaVenda.
- Cases that were in ligitation were the Kinghip of the VhaVenda, Bapedi Ba Marota, AmaShangane (Limpopo Province), AmaPondo of Nyandeni, AmaMpondomise and AmaRharabe in the Eastern Cape and finally AmaNdunza (Litho) Mpumalanga.