King’s fi­nal feast

Dalindyebo’s sib­lings and fam­ily rally around the trou­bled monarch and share a Christ­mas meal with him as he con­sid­ers a lengthy jail sen­tence

CityPress - - Front Page - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­

Asheep and 10 chick­ens were slaugh­tered as the fam­ily of con­tro­ver­sial abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelin­banzi Dalindyebo gath­ered for what could be his last Christ­mas meal as a free man. But the fam­ily has not given up hope. King Dalindyebo wants a re­trial be­cause he says the court that con­victed and sen­tenced him was not prop­erly con­sti­tuted, as one of the judge’s as­ses­sors had died in the mid­dle of the trial.

The fam­ily is also pe­ti­tion­ing Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Ma­sutha to seek a pres­i­den­tial par­don for the monarch.

Princess Ndileka, the king’s el­der sis­ter, and Prince Si­ganeko, his younger brother, spoke to City Press this week and said they were op­ti­mistic that their brother would not go to jail.

The king was to have handed him­self in at Mthatha’s Welling­ton Pri­son on Wed­nes­day to be­gin serv­ing his 12-year sen­tence for ar­son, kid­nap­ping, de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice and as­sault with in­tent to cause griev­ous bod­ily harm.

But last-minute rep­re­sen­ta­tions by his le­gal team that af­ter­noon saw him be­ing given at least un­til De­cem­ber 30 to hand him­self over to the au­thor­i­ties.

Dalindyebo’s fam­ily mem­bers are putting on a brave face and are hop­ing he won’t have to serve any prison time.

“To be hon­est, we are not tak­ing this lightly. It is some­thing very dif­fi­cult to ac­cept. We put our trust in the Almighty. It’s not easy for our brother to take this thing, but we know one day we will get through it,” said Ndileka.

Si­ganeko said they viewed the king as “the shrine” and the fa­ther fig­ure of the abaThembu, and they would fight to the bit­ter end to en­sure he did not go to jail.

“King Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo will not sub­mit him­self to cor­rec­tional ser­vices be­cause there is a min­is­te­rial pe­ti­tion that is be­ing sub­mit­ted.

“The de­ci­sion by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court [not to grant him the right to ap­peal] does not serve any jus­tice for the king. His views are that the tra­di­tional sys­tems re­mained in­tact prior to the 1996 Con­sti­tu­tion, but now he is sub­jected to un­fair treat­ment by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment that we [the abaThembu] see in­car­cer­at­ing our king,” said Si­ganeko.

Speak­ing from the king’s pri­vate res­i­dence in Enku­l­ulek­weni Com­plex in Mthatha, Si­ganeko said it was sad that his brother, who was pre­pared to lay down his life for the lib­er­a­tion of the coun­try, was be­ing sac­ri­ficed in this way.

Dalindyebo is now seek­ing to have the case re­opened on the grounds that his trial had been un­fair and im­prop­erly con­sti­tuted.

In pa­pers in the pos­ses­sion of City Press, the king ar­gues that when the trial started, there were two court as­ses­sors who had as­sisted the judge. One of the as­ses­sors died while the trial was un­der way, but the case con­tin­ued de­spite this.

In court pa­pers sub­mit­ted to the Mthatha High Court this week, Dalindyebo said: “Mr Jus­tice Alkema pro­ceeded with the trial with the sin­gle as­ses­sor. In do­ing so, the learned judge erred and/or mis­di­rected him­self. The con­vic­tion and sen­tence im­posed on me is un­law­ful in that same was not handed down by a court prop­erly con­sti­tuted as it was when the trial com­menced.

“I de­pose to this af­fi­davit in pur­suit of re­lief con­tem­plated in sec­tion 327 of the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act 51 of 1977, for the re­open­ing of my case and for this mat­ter to be con­sid­ered by the hon­ourable min­is­ter of jus­tice, the Mthatha High Court and the hon­ourable pres­i­dent of the re­pub­lic.”

On the is­sue of the fac­tion that calls it­self the royal fam­ily for the king­dom of the abaThembu, which wrote to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in 2012 ask­ing him to with­draw a cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion for the king due to his “un­royal” be­hav­iour, Si­ganeko said Dalindyebo’s im­me­di­ate fam­ily was the only royal fam­ily.

He said Prince Azenathi, the king’s el­dest son, would be king re­gent if their ef­forts to keep Dalindyebo out of jail failed.

“We recog­nise Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo of the abaThembu as the re­gent who will take the reins if the king has to go to jail,” he said.

Ndileka, who lives in Swazi­land, said she went home es­pe­cially be­cause she wanted to spend Christ­mas with her brother.

“We are cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas the way we usu­ally do as a fam­ily. Noth­ing is go­ing to stop us to do what­ever. We will do ev­ery­thing that peo­ple do on Christ­mas with our brother,” she said.

She said they had slaugh­tered a sheep and 10 chick­ens, and had a braai and drinks with fam­ily and close friends.

Si­ganeko said this Christ­mas was spent at home with the king as host, and shar­ing fes­tiv­i­ties with their chil­dren and fam­ily.

“We plan to have fun with King Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo, our beloved brother. We will spend that time with him, re­as­sur­ing him of our bond as a fam­ily and our loy­alty to him as we un­der­stand the dif­fi­cul­ties he is go­ing through at this junc­ture,” said Si­ganeko.

Dur­ing Christ­mas lunch, the king thanked the fam­ily for be­ing to­gether and for stand­ing by him.

Si­ganeko told City Press Dalindyebo was in a “jovial mood”.

“Re­mem­ber, King Zwelibanzi is a man of vigour. His ethos is al­ways high. He never ceases to take us for­ward as a fam­ily and as a na­tion. This time teaches us that we must gather around His Majesty, King Zwelibanzi,” he told the fam­ily.

King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo

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