AbaThembu King fails to persuade Justice Minister

Speaking at press briefing, Michael Masutha said King Dalindyebo’s case would not be heard afresh.

Minister of Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Michael Masutha. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Michael Masutha has dismissed a petition by abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo for a retrial.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria today, Masutha explained the petition was brought to him on two grounds.

The first related to an assessor who died during the initial trial.

The king argued once that happened the court was no longer properly constituted.

The second claims customary laws were ignored.

The justice minister says he was not persuaded by either.

"I am obliged to dismiss this petition. I have since communicated my decision to the King's legal representatives."

Masutha says he has decided that King Dalindyebo's case will not be heard afresh.

King Dalindyebo is supposed to hand himself over to the Mthatha Correctional Centre tomorrow, to begin serving his 12-year sentence.

The king was found guilty of a slew of offences dating back to the late 1990s, including beating his subjects, some of whom died.

Masutha says the monarch's arguments were over points of law, and stressed that it was not his role to overrule a decision taken by the country's courts.

"My responsibility is to only consider further evidence which has since become available after exhausting all recognised legal procedures."

The king has exhausted all other legal avenues, having unsuccessfully approached the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

KING FAILED TO BRING NEW EVIDENCE

Minister Masutha says the abaThembu King and his legal team failed to bring new evidence to his attention, prompting him to dismiss their petition for a retrial.

He says his responsibility was to consider whether new evidence has emerged since the trial that could affect King Dalindyebo's conviction.

Masutha says although he had no obligation to, he decided to meet with the king's team today in order to listen to oral submissions.

"Their oral submissions have been considered in arriving at my decision."

This afternoon, the king filed an urgent application to have his bail extended.

It is expected to be heard in the Mthatha High Court tomorrow.