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After king’s death, Zulu royals postpone appointing official heir

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu will govern the AmaZulu Kingdom in the meanwhile.

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Illustration: Zulu royals. ©Billionaires.Africa

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu was appointed queen regent of the AmaZulu Kingdom on March 21. She will govern its affairs for three months while the Zulu nation’s royal family mourns the late King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, who died on March 12. 

Prime Minister, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi broke the news after consultations with members of the royal family and the late king’s lawyer, nine days after his death.

Her appointment eliminated a leadership vacuum and silenced other voices within the royal family that harbored kingship ambitions. By tradition, the interim administration should have passed to one of the king’s brothers. However, the family sought to exercise caution and avoid an uneasy transition of power to the rightful heir in the future. 

According to an anonymous insider statement reported by Sunday World, Prince Mcwayizeni Israel Zulu, Zwelithini’s uncle who acted as the king regent, had a difficult time handing over power to Zwelithini when the time came. 

In January 2020, Briefly listed King Zwelithini as one of the 10 wealthiest African kings and estimated his net worth at $19 million. 

A Zulu king receives monthly allowances from the government. He also has a say in how the R70-million ($4.73 million) annual budget allocated by the KwaZulu-Natal government for royal upkeep is utilized.

Queen Regent

Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu is from the sovereign Swazi royal family, who founded the present-day Eswatini. At the time of her betrothal in 1973 to Zwelithini, the king operated a less powerful, mediatized government compared to her father’s. Many frowned at the union because of the unequal monarchical influences.

On that basis, the Swazi palace placed a marriage condition that Mantfombi must become his “Great Wife,” which Zwelithini accepted, marrying her in 1977.

By implication, only her male children would become the king’s favorites to succeed him, even though she was his third wife. This makes her first son, Prince Misuzulu Zulu, the heir-apparent to the Zulu throne. 

Why is Prince Misuzulu Zulu not yet King of Zululand?

Prince Misuzulu Zulu is 47 years old and unmarried. Aside from having been educated in the United States and rumors of having a son with an unknown woman, very little is known about him, Sunday World further reported.

The royal house said the delay in appointing the next king will afford it and the nation time to mourn. However, it appears that the prince’s marital status is a complicating factor. An unmarried prince is not allowed to ascend to the throne by  Zulu tradition.

According to the anonymous insider, the late king’s will confirms Prince MisuZulu as his successor. “The only stumbling block is that he is unmarried, and according to the African belief system and Zulu culture, the king can only ascend to the throne once he is married and has a queen. So, within the three months’ period, it is expected that this would have been sorted out,” the insider said.

What is at stake?

The Zulu nation is the largest tribe in South Africa, with an estimated 11 million people. It is located in the KwaZulu-Natal provinces in the country’s southeast. 

The Zulu people play a critical role in South African politics due to their number and level of engagement in leading governmental offices. For instance, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the prime minister, is the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the fourth most prominent political party in the country, whose members are linked to the Trust Feed massacre on Dec. 3, 1988, and Boipatong massacre on June 17, 1992. 

The IFP is a Zulu-based movement that attempted to maintain the ethnic-based division enforced by the Apartheid regime for decades. It is directly opposed to the African National Congress, the country’s largest political party.

Despite its influence, the Zulu royal family does not have official social media channels. The new Zulu king will have to play a significant role in uniting and educating his people while influencing the urbanized, tech-driven younger generation in terms of cultural values.

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Led by South African Mouton family, PSG embarks on strategic restructuring

The South African Mouton family owns 24.5 percent of the company.

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Piet Mouton.

PSG Group, a South African investment holding founded and led by the Mouton family, has begun restructuring its business.

At the investment holding’s general meeting on Aug. 10, more than 95 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the company’s strategic restructuring, unbundling its stakes in the listed subsidiaries that it owns and delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

As part of the restructuring, the group will unbundle its stake in subsidiaries such as PSG Konsult, Curro, Kaap Agri, and CA&S, as well as its 25.1-percent stake in Stadio, a tertiary education company.

Shareholders will not receive unbundled shares in these subsidiaries, and there will be no scheme consideration in the group.

PSG Group is a South African investment holding company, with positions in banking, education, finance, and consumer goods.

The South African Mouton family owns 24.5 percent of the company, which includes stakes held by family members like Petrus and Johannes Mouton, who serve as executives in the group.

The restructuring comes after years of attempting to close the gap between the holding’s JSE share price and its intrinsic worth, which management believes is far greater than its local exchange valuation.

The average discount between PSG and the firms in which it holds stakes is more than 40 percent, which can be attributed to investors preferring to invest directly in operating companies rather than through a holding corporation.

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South African billionaire Johann Rupert-linked SEACOM partners with BT Group

Seacom is privately funded and 75 percent African-owned.

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Johann Rupert. ©Billionaires.Africa

SEACOM has announced a strategic alliance with UK telecommunications service provider BT Group as it prepares to enter the African enterprise cybersecurity market.

SEACOM is a leading pan-African telecom services provider linked to South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert.

The partnership aligns with SEACOM’s plans to expand its portfolio of services targeting African businesses. By leveraging BT Group’s infrastructure and expertise, SEACOM hopes to secure its own infrastructure and deliver new networking and security solutions to African businesses.

“With SEACOM’s global network and local presence and BT’s global reach and expertise, we will be able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of cloud, security, and connectivity services that are reliable, scalable, and at the cutting-edge of the industry,” Oliver Fortuin, CEO of SEACOM, said.

BT Group, which protects some of the world’s largest organizations from cyber threats through a dedicated network of security operations centers around the world, announced that SEACOM customers will gain access to BT Group’s Cloud Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) platform.

The SIEM platform provides real-time visibility and monitoring across an organization’s entire IT environment, acting as an additional layer of security to SEACOM’s existing ICT solutions.

Seacom, which bills itself as Africa’s most extensive ICT infrastructure provider, is privately funded and 75-percent African-owned, with Rupert’s investment holding Remgro owning 30 percent of the company.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe owns a 15-percent stake in the pan-African telecom services provider through his financial services conglomerate, Sanlam.

Jubilee Holdings, a Kenyan investment holding backed by Aga Khan IV (Shah Karim al-Husayni), increased its stake in SEACOM from 8.8 to 18.8 percent earlier this year after acquiring an additional 10-percent stake in the company.

According to Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, the transaction will strengthen the company’s ability to diversify its investment priorities across major sectors of the economy.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto gains $166 million in four weeks

Calisto is one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto.

As the frenzy returns to equity markets, shares in Karooooo Limited have risen recently by double digits due to sustained buying interest as investors bet on tech stocks trading at all-time lows.

Karooooo Limited is a mobility platform led by South African businessman Zak Calisto.

As a result of the recent market surge, the value of Calisto’s 74.7-percent stake in Karooooo has increased by $166 million in the past 27 days to well above $640 million.

Calisto, who founded Karooooo and grew it into an international provider of smart transportation management solutions, is one of South Africa’s wealthiest men and one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

As of press time on Aug. 10, the company’s shares were trading at $27.85 per share, up from their opening price of $26.98 per share earlier this week. The Singapore-based mobility platform’s market capitalization is presently $860 million.

The company’s shares have increased from a price of $20.65 to $27.85 at the time of writing this report, representing a 34.87-percent gain for patient investors since July 14.

The market value of Calisto’s shareholding in Karooooo has increased from $477.6 million on July 14 to $644.1 million at the time of writing, representing a $166-million gain for the tech tycoon.

The renewed buying interest in Karooooo’s shares can be attributed to investor reactions to the company’s double-digit increase in earnings in the first quarter of its 2023 fiscal year.

According to its recently published first quarter results, the Singapore-based global mobility SaaS platform’s profit increased by 44 percent to R156 million ($9.37 million), up from R108 million ($6.48 million) in the first quarter of 2022.

Earnings increased by double digits due to the higher revenue generated during the period, as the company’s total subscriber base surpassed 1.5 million, up from less than 1.4 million a year ago.

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