Zuma refers bid to free Dalindyebo to Justice Minister

23 February 2016 - 16:09 By TMG Digital

Justice Minister Michael Masutha is reviewing a request for jailed AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo to be granted a presidential pardon. The 51-year-old king was detained on December 30 to start serving a 12-year prison sentence for assault‚ kidnapping and arson.While his tribe struggle to appoint an acting king‚ the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) last month petitioned President Jacob Zuma to secure Dalindyebo’s release.In a statement on Tuesday‚ the presidency said: “President Jacob Zuma last month‚ on 25 January 2016‚ referred to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services a letter and petition he received from the Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson of Contralesa‚ Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyane‚ requesting that President Zuma considers granting His Majesty King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of abaThembu a Presidential Pardon. The President duly forwarded the petition and letter to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services for further processing as the Department responsible for such applications”.No date for any decision was indicated.Dalindyebo’s crimes were committed between June 1995 and January 1996. The charges all related to mistreatment of Dalindyebo's subjects in the 1990s on a farm he owned near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.He was sentenced in December 2009 by the Mthatha High Court but Dalindyebo appealed and his R6‚000 bail was extended pending the appeal.In October 2015‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal denounced Dalindyebo’s brutal “disciplining of his subjects”‚ describing him as a “tyrannical and despotic king” who “behaved shamefully and abused his position”.Dalindyebo set fire to the houses of three tenants to evict them because he believed they had breached tribal rules. He also publicly brutally assaulted three young men for allegedly committing crimes.A fourth man who was suspected of having been party to the alleged crimes was killed by members of the community and the prosecution contended this was on Dalindyebo’s instructions‚ but the SCA was ultimately not convinced that the king was guilty of culpable homicide for the man's death.

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