Sep 18, 2012

Vhavenda: Judge Made Ruling Regarding Kingship

Judge Francis Legodi decided that the Vhavenda kingship should be restored in the lineage of the Mphephu Ramabulana, while opponents say the discussion is not over yet.

Below is an article published by ZoutNet:


Last Thursday [13 September 2012], Judge Francis Legodi gave his judgment in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ... King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana is the rightful heir to the throne of Vhavenda Kingship. The verdict has refuted the claims by three senior traditional leaders, Thovhele Gole Musiiwa Mphaphuli, Thovhele Tshidziwelele Nephawe and Thovhele Kennedy Midiyavhathu Tshivhase, and they were ordered to pay the costs for the lawsuit.


Before passing judgment, Judge Legodi urged the claimants to accept the rule of law and respect the decision of the court. “The Vhavenda, like many South Africans, are peace-loving people. They must not allow the outcome of this case to come in the way of peace and mutual respect for each other. There was only one bloodbath that had happened to the Vhavenda and that was when Mpofu defeated Tshivhase and his people for the second time. This was between 1600 and 1800. It was such a bloody fight that the river was filled with blood and it never happened again,” said Judge Legodi.


“I made an order that the application to review and set aside the decision that was taken by the Nhlapo Commission on Traditional Leadership Claims by the first (Vhangona), second (Tshivhase) and third (Mphaphuli) respondents is hereby dismissed with cost to be paid, including the cost of senior and junior counsels respectively,” Legodi said.


The three senior traditional leaders challenged the findings of the Nhlapo Commission, which was released by Pres Jacob Zuma on 29 July, 2010. The commission recommended that the kingship of the Vhavenda nation be restored under the lineage of the Mphephu Ramabulana dynasty, in line with the customary law and customs of the Vhavenda.


In his judgement, Legodi said that the Vhangona were also not Vhavenda-born and bred but had come from somewhere in Mapungubwe before they had established themselves in Venda as the first inhabitants. “Inasmuch as Tshidziwelele Nephawe might have thought the issue of the position of the incumbent to the kingship was relevant, it was not,” said Legodi.


“The commission found against the house of Tshivhase that they didn’t establish a traditional community with a new identity, through conquering and subjugation, either similar to or distinct from that of the Vhavenda as created by Dimbanyika”.


Meanwhile,  the spokesperson of the Tshivhase Dynasty, Mr  Avhatakali “Luvhaivhai “ Tshivhase, the spokesperson for the Vhangona, Mr Robert Rakhadani, and the legal representative of the Mphaphuli Dynasty, Adv Tsietsi Ramatsekisa, said they were still busy studying the judgment and they were still going to discuss the way forward.


According to Mr Luvhaivhai Tshivhase, the Tshivhase Dynasty was still worried that Judge Legodi had never given them the basis on which he had made his ruling. The Vhangona’s spokesperson, Mr Robert Rakhadani, said that the Vhangona would appeal against the judgment.


Attorney Nkhangweni Makhavhu, representing the Mphephu Ramabulana Dynasty, said he was happy that his client had finally won.