Swaziland
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INYANGA’S WIDOW RUNS TO COURT, CLAIMS E8M ESTATE BEING LOOTED

MBABANE – The widow of the late traditional healer of Ntondozi has appealed for assistance from the Master of the High Court to stop the alleged looting of her husband’s E8 million estate by lawyers.

Annah Magagula (nee Thomo) made the plea to the master following numerous court cases instituted by some children of the late popular traditional, Mathanda Zephania Magagula, who were seeking various orders. The costs or attorneys’ fees were borne by the estate.  Annah has beseeched the master to assist in that regard to stop what she described as the looting of the estate by attorneys.

Correspondence

In her correspondence to the master, she stated that as the wife of the late Zephania, she and his children, Ndlelo, Nomusa, Phetsile, Phelelani, Mcolisi and Tibusile, were aggrieved that the estate funds would be depleted due to payments made to attorneys. She alleged that over E120 000 has been paid from the estate to attorneys. She said Linah Malaza and Musawenkhosi Magagula instructed attorneys following allegations that the executor was mismanaging funds belonging to the estate. In matter, according to Annah, Linah and Musawenkhosi allegedly failed to bring evidence of their allegations against the executor and the court ruled in the latter’s favour.

Annah stated that currently, there was a pending matter in which the executor wanted the court to review the purported decision of the master to the effect that the attorney appearing for the applicants should be paid E55 583.16, when the court did not issue an order to that effect. She wondered if the Master’s Office did not protect the property of the estate. According to Annah, Malaza and Musawenkhosi allegedly instructed other attorneys to oppose an application that had been moved by the executor at the High Court. She alleged that Malaza and Musawenkhosi did not attend family meetings ‘but they instruct lawyers to oppose decisions taken by the family’.

Annah said the attorneys’ fees were borne by the estate. “As we speak, the master has paid the lawyers in this matter money amounting to E29 826.23, but when the executor makes a request for money for farming, the Master’s Office said the money would not be paid since there was a pending court case. We, the beneficiaries, are suffering,” Annah mentioned.
The widow further alleged that Mjaji Magagula was advised to engage an attorney by the Master’s Office after the court ordered that the executor should be given money to maintain the estate property. She also alleged that there was a letter from yet another law firm whose attorneys claimed to be representing Mjaji, Linah, Musawenkhosi and others. “We are of the view the estate funds are being mismanaged. They are also saying they will go to court because they want the executor to be removed.

According to our knowledge, Mjaji Magagula and the other children of the deceased hired an attorney who was paid E39 327.82 from the estate. “When did Mjaji engage the other attorney? What’s surprising is that the Master’s Office has still not paid lawyers who appeared for the estate, S.M. Simelane and Hlabangane Attorneys. “Is it proper that each and every child of the deceased should have their own attorney and their fees be paid from the estate? I, Annah Magagula, and the children of the deceased want a solution to this matter because in the end we will find the estate depleted by attorneys,” she alleged.

In one of the matters that went to court, the Master of the High Court accused the executrix of exaggerating funds for farming in the late traditional healer’s fields. According to the Master, the executrix, Phumaphi Magagula, had at the time made a request for the release of a total sum of E845 405.80 from the estate for the supply of seeds, fertilisers and LAM when only E98 274.40 was required. These allegations were contained in a report that had been compiled by the Master. The report stated that the executrix had approached the High Court for an order that, pending the winding up of the estate, the Master be directed to pay an amount of E2 million into the Nsukwansuku Trust’s bank account held at Nedbank, Matsapha.

Determination

The issue for determination, according to the Master, was whether the applicant was entitled to the trust account at that point of winding up the estate. It is stated in the report that a legal process in the winding up of the estate commenced in that Phumaphi filed with the Master’s Office a First Liquidation and Distribution Account in terms of Section 51 (2) of the Administration of Estates Act No.28/1902. The executrix, Phumaphi, responded by saying the report of the Master contained inaccuracies. According to Phumaphi, that was not the first time that the Master had alleged inaccuracies and was forced to correct them.  The matter in which the Master was accused of refusing to honour a request for funds to maintain assets belonging to the estate had been moved by the executrix. The executrix also wants the court to declare her to be in possession of, and vested with, powers to control assets of the estate.

In the estate of the traditional healer, a former convict demanded DNA tests for a child who is a beneficiary in the E8 million estate of the traditional healer. Jabulani Msibi of Elangeni alleged to be the father of the child, whose mother, Thobile Zwane, is a sister to one of the late traditional healer’s wives. Zwane of Ntondozi refuted the allegations made by Msibi. Msibi wanted the court to direct Zwane to avail the child to a medical laboratory of her choice for purposes of conducting a paternity test with him. Msibi is a former employee of Royal Swazi Hotel in Ezulwini. He told the court that in the year 2000 he was involved in an intimate relationship with Zwane, who allegedly used to reside at the homestead of the traditional healer.
The mother of the child, Zwane, alleged that Msibi stole bones of members of the royal family and his mental status was concerning. In her answering papers, Thobile Zwane told the court that Msibi should be taken for psychiatric evaluation because he had not been himself after allegedly stealing the bones of royal family members at a sacred burial site. She said she had serious concerns with the mental status of Msibi.