'We forgive him, but the king needs to compensate us': Dalindyebo victim
AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo will enjoy Christmas with his family following his release from prison - but trouble could be brewing as his victims demand compensation.
Dalindyebo was released on Monday after serving four years of his 12-year sentence for kidnapping and assaulting his subjects. The high court had initially sentenced him to 15 years, which the Supreme Court of Appeal reduced by three years.
Dalindyebo started his sentence in 2015, soon prompting a litany of crusades by traditional leaders lobbying for his release.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week granted a special remission of sentences to certain prisoners and parolees. Dalindyebo got his Christmas present from Ramaphosa when his sentence was reduced by 12 months, which meant he qualified for parole a year earlier.
As traditional leaders prepared to push Ramaphosa for a full presidential pardon for the king, one of his victims did not rule out the possibility of litigation if he was not compensated for his home, which was burnt down on Dalindyebo’s orders 24 years ago.
Mbuzeni Makhwenkwana, 57, told TimesLIVE this week that he wanted R400,000 from the king.
“Some of the things I lost cannot be replaced,” he said.
“My three children no longer want to come home. Each victim would be satisfied with at least R400,000. But there is [also] a case of a man who was badly beaten, he is now mentally challenged.”
Makhwenkwana said a number of “delegates” had visited him and the other victims on several occasions, asking them to forgive the king and also “checking how we would feel if the king was released from jail”.
“We said we don’t have a problem with him being released, but they must not forget that we lost our property. The king needs to compensate us.
"We can forgive him with our hearts, but that does not change the fact that we suffered losses because of his conduct – some of it is irreparable.”
Makhwenkwana said Dalindyebo ordered that his home, in Tyalarha village, be burnt after he was charged with murder in 1995.
“I was charged with murder and I served my 15-year sentence. His release means nothing to me because I live on a disability grant since I lost my right leg in a car accident.”
Nkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana, chair of the House of Traditional Leaders in the Eastern Cape, said the king has been unemployed and it would therefore be difficult to compensate the victims.
Nonkonyana said the victims had been compensated “in kind” over years.
"They raised the issues of compensation with us. I believe they have been given some compensation in kind, in terms of assistance. Our belief is that they should be content with the assistance they have received," he said.
"The king has not been in employment. As traditional leaders, we are willing to assist them where we can."
Nonkonyana said the victims had been constantly engaged about the efforts to have the king released.
"In fact, from as far back as 2016, I engaged the victims and I continued to do that last year. We took them on board and they indicated that they are [willing] to forgive the king.
"To us, the reconciliation of the king and his people is key and paramount, and we were pleased that they sent the signal. But of course they wanted the king to meet them. I am sure now that the king is home, they with find an appropriate time to meet.
"What happened should be buried. We believe that once they reconcile, it’s only bright futures that lie ahead.
"We regard his release as a Christmas present. Not only to that family, but to the entire traditional leadership. Although he is out on parole, we think that this is going to give us breathing space and give our president more time to really consider what we ultimately want, which is a presidential pardon," added Nonkonyana.
According to the Daily Dispatch, Dalindyebo committed the crimes between 1995 and 1996. The king ordered that Stokwana Sonteya’s wife Nocingile and their six children be held and their four rondavels burnt on June 20 1995. Nocingile and their children were released at noon and ordered to leave Tyalarha.
On the same day, Dalindyebo ordered that the homes of Wayiya Sonteya and Makhwenkwana be torched.
The terror continued. In January 1996, on the king’s orders, Malandela Sontonase, Lunga Pama and Welile Dumo were assaulted. The following day, Saziso Wofa was kidnapped and assaulted. He later died of his injuries.