South Africa: New Palace for Zulu King Amid Legal Dispute - South African News Briefs - February 29, 2024

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini,
29 February 2024


New Palace Planned for King Misuzulu Amidst Legal Dispute

The KwaZulu-Natal government has announced plans to construct a new palace for King Misuzulu kaZwelithini in Nongoma, reports News24. This decision aligns with Zulu's custom, which dictates his residence should not be his late father's KwaKhangelamankengana palace.  This pledge comes amid a legal dispute challenging the king's reign. Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube highlighted the positive relations between the government and the king, emphasizing continued support. Traditional leaders expressed discontent over the king's inability to stay where his mother was buried, prompting the decision to build a new palace. The move is seen as culturally appropriate by some but has stirred political and financial concerns. The African National Congress government's previous renovation of a government house for the king was noted, and the proposed new palace has sparked both approval and caution from political figures. A court case questioning the king's legitimacy adds a layer of complexity to the situation, given recent legal challenges to President Cyril Ramaphosa's recognition of King Misuzulu. The decision to build a new palace is viewed as a cultural necessity but raises potential issues related to politics, timing, and financial implications.

Vodacom Appeals 'Please Call Me' Decision to Constitutional Court

Vodacom has filed a leave to appeal application in the Constitutional Court challenging the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) judgment in the "Please Call Me" case, reports TimesLive. The SCA had ordered Vodacom to make a fresh determination within 30 days to compensate Nkosana Makate for his invention, setting aside a previous R47 million offer. Vodacom contends that key aspects of the matter do not align with the spirit of the law, and the judgment is fundamentally flawed. The company argues that the SCA's order impinges on the rule of law, misdirected itself, selectively considered evidence, and issued unintelligible orders. Vodacom highlights potential negative impacts on its operations, employees, shareholders, and contributions to public finances if the judgment is upheld. Despite the legal battle, Vodacom expresses openness to constructive dialogue for a fair and reasonable compensation amount. The "Please Call Me" dispute dates back to an agreement Makate had with Vodacom's former director of product development, and the Constitutional Court had previously ruled in Makate's favor in 2016, ordering negotiations for reasonable compensation.

South African Airways Submits Overdue Four-Year Financial Statements

South African Airways (SAA) has submitted its overdue annual financial statements to Parliament, addressing the years 2019 to 2022, reports EWN. However, the Auditor General (AG) has issued disclaimers for all those years, expressing ongoing concerns about the airline. In a briefing to Parliament's public enterprises committee, SAA and the AG outlined the review of the financial statements. Despite committee members welcoming the audited statements, the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Obed Bapela, emphasized that much work remains for the airline's turnaround, citing the unresolved matter of a strategic equity partner. SAA Board Chairperson Derek Hanekom acknowledged the "legacy of bad stories" but urged a focus on the present. The committee plans to meet separately with Minister Pravin Gordhan for an update on the majority sale of SAA to an equity partner.

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