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Contralesa calls for King Dalindyebo to be 'let off the hook'

King Dalindyebo was meant to report to the Wellington Prison yesterday but his bail was extended.

AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) say abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo should not go to jail because of the unstable time during which he committed the crimes against his subjects.

The Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court found the king guilty of ordering that some of his subjects be disciplined; and having their homes torched.

King Dalindyebo was supposed to report to the Wellington Prison in Mthatha yesterday, but his bail was extended after he applied for a presidential pardon.

General Secretary of Contralesa, Chief Xolile Ndevu, said, "The king recently arrived in South Africa from exile so there were many things around that. The justice system should have considered those facts as it was awkward for everybody; people were not listening because they were moving from the homelands."

The Mthatha High Court yesterday granted an application for his bail to be extended until Wednesday.

The king, who was meant to begin his 12-year jail term yesterday, has petitioned Justice Minister Michael Masutha to re-open his case.

CONTRALESA GIVES REASONS WHY HE SHOULDN'T BE JAILED

Contralesa says King Dalindyebo should not be jailed because he was acting under customary law when he committed the crimes he's been convicted of.

Dalindyebo used the same defence when he applied for leave to appeal in the Constitutional Court.

He claimed he was performing his duty as an officer of the judiciary when ordered his subjects to be assaulted and their homes torched.

That argument was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeal and the highest court in the land.

Ndevu says the courts should have taken this into consideration.

"If it were to be that and African systems and the customary laws were recognised in this country, it would be like saying the king was exercising his duties. He was presiding over cases that people undermined."