Ramaphosa applying his mind to King Dalindyebo's presidential pardon

In 2009, the Eastern Cape High Court sentenced King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo to an effective 12 years in jail for kidnapping, assault, arson and defeating the ends of justice.

AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo in 2013. Picture: AFP.

MQANDULI - President Cyril Ramaphosa has met with the family of controversial abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo ahead of the deadline for a decision on the king's release.

Ramaphosa said he is applying his mind to the possibility of a presidential pardon for the king very carefully because he considers it a serious matter.

In 2009, the Eastern Cape High Court sentenced Dalindyebo to an effective 12 years in jail for kidnapping, assault, arson and defeating the ends of justice. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeals knocked off three years.

The possibility of a presidential pardon was announced two weeks ago when Justice Minister Michael Masutha submitted recommendations to the president dealing with requests for Dalindyebo's release.

This followed numerous requests by traditional leaders.

The Land Party has been a strong supporter of releasing the king, with party president Gcobani Ndzongana saying if he is not freed, his members will mobilise.

Both Ramaphosa and the acting king, Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo, emerged smiling from the family house in Mthatha following the closed meeting this afternoon.

abaThembu voters are threatening to boycott the election next month if their monarch is not pardoned.
Ramaphosa said he had a constructive meeting with Prince Azenathi.

"It's not the first time that a president of the ANC and the king of the abaThembu have cooperation. And it's not the first time that the president of the republic meets with his majesty and indeed with other kings as well."