Intrigue in the royal household as King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo sits in jail
The AbaThembu started the new year with a royal ruckus over breaches of protocol and authority as its King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo sat in jail.
“External elements” were misleading some of Dalindyebo's children over who was in charge while the king was in prison, royal family spokesperson Daludumo Mtirara said in a statement.
''We want to put it on record that the overarching house which has full authority to deal with the internal affairs of the kingdom of AbaThembu, in support of the Great House, is the King Ngangelizwe Royal Family,'' said Mtirara.
There was nothing wrong with Dalindyebo's family meeting to discuss internal affairs, but according to custom the invitation to the meeting could only be sanctioned by Prince Jongisizwe Mthandeni Dalindyebo, the king's son.
Mtirara said Siganeko Dalindyebo, considered a junior member of the family, had tried to arrange a meeting for Saturday without going through the correct channels.
He was supposed to have asked his seniors in the family and Prince Jongisizwe Mthandeni Dalindyebo for permission.
Mtirara said because Siganeko Dalindyebo had grown up in Johannesburg, he was not au fait with the finer details of the kingdom's customs and had not set up the meeting properly.
He was also the son of a junior wife of the king and supposed to follow the directions of the elders.
''The royal family for the kingdom of AbaThembu condemns the misleading conduct of Siganeko Dalindyebo who acted outside our matured custom. His behaviour is disrespectful and unacceptable.
''The time for confusion and mixing of our custom with western lifestyle is over,'' Mtirara said.
He claimed the junior member was part of a group who had led the king astray by telling him he could not be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, a properly authorised meeting was expected to be held on Monday to decide how to respond to the kingdom's first major crisis since South Africa became a constitutional democracy.
Dalindyebo had already been customarily dethroned and had his spear taken away from him.
In terms of laws governing traditional authorities, he also had to be administratively dethroned. This involved President Jacob Zuma withdrawing the certificate that recognised him as a king, and cutting off the benefits that went with his status.
Mtirara said Zuma gave Dalindyebo a chance to say something when the certificate was about to be withdrawn, but he chose to go to court instead. This meant the matter of withdrawing the king's certificate still had to be dealt with.
Once the certificate matter had been dealt with, deliberations could start on who would succeed Dalindyebo while he served his sentence in Wellington Prison, Mthatha.
In 2009, Dalindyebo was sentenced to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson, and kidnapping. He was granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. In October, the SCA set aside his culpable homicide conviction and reduced his sentence to 12 years.
His crimes involved the treatment he meted out to some of his subjects in 1995 and 1996.
He began serving his sentence on Wednesday.