AbaThembu royals welcome pardon application for jailed king Dalindyebo
The AbaThembu royal family has welcomed justice minister Michael Masutha's application for the pardon of jailed king Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo.
"We wish to commend honourable minister of justice... in applying his mind and recommending the pardoning of His Majesty King Buyelekhaya Dalinydebo," said chairperson of the Ngangelizwe royal family Nkosi Thanduxolo Mtirara.
TimesLIVE reported on Thursday that Masutha had formally submitted an application for pardon of Dalindyebo.
The application was made to the presidency, which confirmed it had received the application and that President Cyril Ramaphosa was applying his mind to the matter.
Dalindyebo is serving an effective 12 years in prison, imposed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2015. The sentence was handed down for three counts of arson, three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, one count of defeating the ends of justice and one count of kidnapping.
The king set fire to the homes of three complainants, his "subjects" and tenants, to secure their eviction when he believed they had breached tribal rules.
According to the kingdom of AbaThembu, Dalindyebo's absence had led to divisions within the AbaThembu nation.
"The absence of his majesty marked a period of division within the AbaThembu nation and the matter eventually landed in court, in Grahamstown High Court. The period also brought no peace, no stability, no unity and no social cohesion in the kingdom," Mtirara said.
He said on his return Dalindyebo would have the task of building and restoring the dignity of the AbaThembu nation.
"As the AbaThembu we are satisfied that the victim-offender dialogue and/or consultations have taken place in this matter, as they were held at Nkosi Jonginyaniso Mtirara Great place in Tyalara, who we have continuously asked to cooperate in this matter," he said.
The justice ministry said on Thursday the initial application for Dalindyebo's pardon was made by the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) in January 2016.
The department said the king afterwards made his own application for a pardon.
"In terms of the process, the application was submitted to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for processing and to minister Michael Masutha to make a recommendation to the president whether to grant a pardon or not," ministry spokesperson Max Mpunzana said on Thursday.