Upon reviewing former president Jacob Zuma’s 2010 decision to crown Thovhele Toni Mphephu Ramabulana as the Vhavenda king, the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that this kingship was unconstitutional.
As reported by the Citizen, it was nine years ago when Zuma placed Rmabulana in the throne of Vhavenda.
Why Ramabulana as Vhavenda king was unconstitutional
It was not exactly clear what his reasons were but according to Princess Masindi Mphephu, the decision was in breach of the monarchical constitution as she was the rightful heir to the throne.
Masindi, with the assistance of the courts, was able to halt the coronation of her cousin, Ramabulana. She had insisted that she was overlooked as the rightful heir to the throne because of the patriarchal notions that place women below men.
After a lengthy court procedure, the appeals authority ruled that not only was Ramabulana’s kingship unconstitutional, it also promoted, in a gross fashion, gender discrimination.
“It is declared that the decisions of the eight respondent to identify, and that of the second respondent to recognise the first respondent as King of Vhavenda are based on a criteria that promotes gender discrimination, and are reviewed as set aside in that the discrimination impedes compliance with the provisions of section 2A (4)(c) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act of 2009, to progressively advance gender representation,” the courts noted.
VBS-linked Ramabulana has yet to pay back the money
The SCA has referred the matter back to the Limpopo High Court for further adjudication and it seems likely that Masindi will be crowned the first female ruler of Vhavenda.
Ramabulana has yet to provide proof of his repayments to the now-defunct VBS Mutual Bank. He, along with 52 others, was implicated in the scandal that was termed the Great Bank Heist, a looting scam that saw the first black-owned bank fall to its knees with an irrecoverable debt bill in excess of R2-billion.
Ramabulana accepted fault for accepting ‘gratituous’ payments totalling R17-million. He vowed to pay all of it back once there were clear instructions on how and where to make the repayments. We have not heard a single thing about that since.