AbaThembu King's family still hopeful he'll avoid jail time

AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has been found guilty of crimes dating back to the late 1990s.

FILE. The monarch has been found guilty of various crimes dating back to the late 1990s.  Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The family of AbaThembu King, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, said they are still hopeful that he will avoid jail time.

The monarch has been found guilty of various crimes dating back to the late 1990s.

His bid to have his 12-year prison sentence overturned in the constitutional court failed.

He was meant to report to a correctional centre last week to begin serving out his sentence but his bail has been extended, while the controversial royal petitions the Justice and Correctional Services Minister, calling for a retrial.

His brother Siganeko Dalindyebo says, "Another legal route that we're taking is for the presidential pardon. All of those processes, we trust that they might help us to have our king not going to jail."

Last week, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) said the AbaThembu king 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, but his bail was extended after he applied for a presidential pardon.


Contralesa said 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.

General Secretary of Contralesa, Chief Xolile Ndevu said 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."