WHEN A KING GOES TO JAIL

CityPress - - Front Page - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Noth­ing can save aba Thembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo from go­ing to prison be­cause this is the “will of the an­ces­tors”. Daludumo Mti­rara – King Dalindyebo’s un­cle, the aba Thembu royal fam­ily’s spokesper­son and one of the 16 roy­als who wrote to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to have the king’s cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion with­drawn in 2012 – said the monarch had for a long time an­gered the an­ces­tors and aba Thembu el­ders.

He said the royal fam­ily wel­comed the news that the king would spend Christ­mas be­hind bars, and they would be “happy” to visit him in jail.

King Dalindyebo is ex­pected to hand him­self over by Wed­nes­day.

“In our be­lief, Dalindyebo is be­ing pun­ished by the an­ces­tors. This is the wrath of the an­ces­tors.

“He phys­i­cally as­saulted his late fa­ther, King Sa­bata Dalindyebo, while they were in Zam­bia in ex­ile. He also phys­i­cally as­saulted his late mother, No Moscow. She showed me wounds he in­flicted on her with a sjam­bok,” Mti­rara said.

“He ver­bally in­sulted the late Transkei ruler Dali­wonga Matanz­ima. The late for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela was also one of the vic­tims of his ver­bal abuse. All these peo­ple are el­ders of the aba Thembu na­tion who are no more to­day.”

Mti­rara said not even the best lawyers in the coun­try could save the king now.

“The les­son we should take from this, in­clud­ing him as king, is to re­spect peo­ple, your fam­ily and el­ders. We must re­spect our el­ders all the time.

“The wrath of an­ces­tors is felt when one does not re­spect el­ders, like the king has done.”

In Oc­to­ber, Dalindyebo’s spokesper­son, Nkosi Mfundo Mti­rara, said the king would never hand him­self over to prison au­thor­i­ties and they would have to bring the army to fetch him from Bum­bane Great Place, where he re­sides.

But on Fri­day, he sounded more re­signed, say­ing the monarch was pre­par­ing him­self to serve his sen­tence, al­though he was still shocked, “like ev­ery­body else”.

“The king is the one who is say­ing to ev­ery­body that we should ac­cept the sit­u­a­tion as it is and that we fought a good fight, but now it was time to ac­cept the out­come,” the spokesper­son said.

“The king did not say he will not hand him­self over, nor did he say he will. All he said was that we must ac­cept this. He said we must al­low the law to take its course. He is pre­par­ing him­self for the sit­u­a­tion.

“Our view as aba Thembu is that he must not go any­where, but he said we must re­spect the law.”

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane, chair­man of the Congress of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers of SA in the Eastern Cape, said they have re­solved to pe­ti­tion Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­gard­ing the mat­ter of the aba Thembu king.

“We have ac­cepted the de­ci­sion of the court. But it is unique that a reign­ing king is in­car­cer­ated. The royal fam­ily is meet­ing to­mor­row in Bum­bane to put the fi­nal touches on the plans to ask the pres­i­dent to in­ter­vene. He [Dalindyebo] can­not be treated like any other or­di­nary crim­i­nal. Our main aim is that he be granted clemency or be kept in a house be­long­ing to cor­rec­tional ser­vices.”

Mfundo Mti­rara said sev­eral meet­ings will be held over the week­end and early next week at which “the na­tion will de­cide what is to hap­pen”.

“Our lawyers are still ex­plor­ing other le­gal av­enues,” he said, adding that he had never heard of a case laid against the king for as­sault­ing his late par­ents.

“The king stayed with his fa­ther in ex­ile. I don’t know any­thing about him beat­ing his fa­ther. His mother never opened any case against the king to the Great Place or with the po­lice, so I do not un­der­stand where those al­le­ga­tions come from,” he said.

The ver­bal as­saults on Matanz­ima and Man­dela were mis­un­der­stand­ings and pro­to­col is­sues, added the spokesper­son.

“The king ac­knowl­edged both those mis­takes and cows were sent to both the fam­i­lies, while the two el­ders were still alive, to apol­o­gise. There­fore, no wrath of an­ces­tors could be at­trib­uted to that.”

Mthatha’s Welling­ton Pri­son, sur­rounded on three sides by a bend in the Mthatha River, is in­fa­mous for over­crowd­ing. In 2008, this re­porter ex­posed how 300 await­ing-trial pris­on­ers were made to share a cell built for 15 peo­ple. Prison­ers slept sit­ting or squashed up on mat­tresses on the floor.

Over the years, the prison has seen es­capes in which in­mates over­pow­ered their war­dens and broke free.

Cor­rec­tional ser­vices pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Zama Feni was un­able to com­ment on con­di­tions in the prison, but said: “Welling­ton Pri­son is just like any other prison.” King Dalindyebo, he said, would be treated like any other pris­oner. “Ours is just to re­ceive him when we get an in­di­ca­tion as to when he is com­ing. We are still wait­ing for that.

“I have been in dis­cus­sion with the cor­rec­tional ser­vices com­mis­sioner about the mat­ter. It is only on Mon­day that we would be in a po­si­tion to give def­i­nite an­swers,” he said.

King Dalindyebo’s last le­gal op­tion – a bid for leave to ap­peal his con­vic­tion and 12-year sen­tence to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court – was dis­missed on De­cem­ber 2.

In Oc­to­ber, his ad­vo­cate, Jaap Cil­liers SC, suc­cess­fully ap­plied at the Mthatha Eastern Cape High Court for his bail to be ex­tended af­ter the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA) sen­tenced him to 12 years in prison.

The SCA rul­ing fol­lowed the king’s ap­peal of his 15year sen­tence – handed down by Mthatha High Court Judge Sytze Alkema in 2009 – for crimes rang­ing from cul­pa­ble homi­cide, ar­son and kid­nap­ping, to se­ri­ous as­sault and de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice. All crimes were com­mit­ted on his farm Tyalara in 1995 and 1996.

The SCA, how­ever, ac­quit­ted him of cul­pa­ble homi­cide and re­duced his sen­tence to 12 years.

In Oc­to­ber, when ex­tend­ing his R6 000 bail, Mthatha High Court Judge Lusindiso Pakade or­dered the king to hand him­self over to Welling­ton Pri­son within 14 days should his Con­sti­tu­tional Court bid fail. His free­dom ex­pires on Wed­nes­day.

Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Author­ity re­gional spokesper­son Lux­olo Tyali thanked the pros­e­cu­tion team, led by se­nior state pros­e­cu­tor Nigel Car­pen­ter, for en­sur­ing that King Dalindyebo will fi­nally go to jail.

“It has been 10 long years that our pros­e­cu­tors have been work­ing on this case. At one stage, records went miss­ing af­ter the king was con­victed.

“But we are happy that the work they put in and their per­se­ver­ance has paid off,” he said.

PHOTO: ELIZ­A­BETH SE­JAKE

CRUNCH TIME

AbaThembu monarch Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo is ex­pected to hand him­self over on Wed­nes­day

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