Sanders Mlotshwa’s bid to succeed his late brother Nyangayezinwe Mlotshwa as Chief Mvutu was hit a fatal blow after the High Court nullified his nomination and ordered a restart of the selection process.
Mlotshwa is locked in a bitter wrangle with his late brother’s daughter, Silibaziso (24), who has also approached the courts of justice arguing that she is the rightful heir apparent to the Mvutu chieftainship.
The Mvutu chieftainship fell vacant following the death Nyangayezinwe Mlotshwa of Monde area in March 2014 at the age of 61.
Nine months after Chief Mvutu passed on, the Mlotshwa family had resolved that Sanders be appointed the successor arguing that it was against the norms and values of the Nguni culture for a female member of the family to be appointed head of chieftainship.
Two camps have since emerged in the royal Mlotshwa family: one supporting Sanders and the other, which backs Silibaziso.
On the other hand, the High Court has ruled that gender cannot be used as the basis for disqualifying women from becoming chiefs.
The long-drawn-out Mvutu chieftainship wrangle has been episodic, with the office of the District Development Co-ordinator (DDC) at one time endorsing the nomination of Sanders.
But, through her lawyer Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners, Silibaziso challenged the DDC’s decision at the High Court and lost.
She further pursued her matter with the Supreme Court which advised that a constitutional application be properly filed to determine the constitutionality of the Nguni customary succession principle excluding women from chieftainship on the basis of gender.
The Constitutional Court also advised Silibaziso to file a mandamus application at the High Court citing Hwange DDC and Sanders Mlotshwa as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
A mandamus refers to an application for legal compliance to a specific statutory duty or remedy to an unlawful action already taken.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews