South Africa abolishes 6 traditional monarchies; leaders to challenge demotion in court

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's president says six of the country's traditional monarchies are being abolished.

The country's 13 black ethnic kingships were used to muster support for white-led rule in the apartheid era before democratic elections in 1994.

Some of the monarchs were appointed by the apartheid government with few legitimate claims to their throne.

President Jacob Zuma told reporters Thursday the new move aimed to correct "the wrongs of the past."

Leaders of the six kingships affected by the move have said they will challenge their demotion in court.

Traditional leaders who preside over hearings to resolve tribal disputes are revered in many parts of Africa as the hereditary custodians of customs, traditions and land ownership.