Out­cry over king’s re­lease

The free­ing on pa­role by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa of abaThembu King Buyelekhay­a Dalindyebo, con­victed on a string of counts and jailed for 15 years in 2015, has raised eye­brows.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Brian Sokutu – bri­[email protected]­i­zen.co.za

Dalindyebo was jailed in 2015 for, among other things, kid­nap­ping, as­sault.

In what has been seen as un­der­min­ing the role of the ju­di­ciary in sanc­tion­ing of­fend­ers, im­mense po­lit­i­cal pres­sure mounted on Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and in­tense lob­by­ing were be­hind the re­lease on pa­role yes­ter­day of abaThembu King Buyelekhay­a Dalindyebo, ac­cord­ing to po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga.

Dalindyebo was im­pris­oned in De­cem­ber 2015 af­ter the Eastern Cape High Court handed him 15 years in jail for seven counts of kid­nap­ping, three of as­sault, three of ar­son, one of cul­pa­ble homicide and one of de­feat­ing the ends of jus­tice.

The Supreme Court of Ap­peal re­duced the sen­tence by three years.

Com­ment­ing on Dalindyebo’s re­lease, which co­in­cided with Ramaphosa’s Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Day mes­sage to grant re­mis­sion of sen­tences to 14 647 el­i­gi­ble in­mates, Mathekga said those who lob­bied Ramaphosa in­cluded tra­di­tional lead­ers and po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights.

“Be­cause of po­lit­i­cal pres­sure, it has been dif­fi­cult for the pres­i­dent to avoid tak­ing this ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sion,” said Mathekga.

“It ap­pears he has re­sorted to pick­ing his po­lit­i­cal bat­tles sen­si­bly, al­though this may lead to him be­ing em­broiled in a con­tro­versy.

“The charges that King Dalindyebo faced were of a very se­ri­ous na­ture, some­thing which may lead to or­gans of civil so­ci­ety say­ing we now have a par­al­lel ju­di­cial struc­ture.

“Due to him be­ing a vi­o­lent man who has been a dan­ger to so­ci­ety, his re­lease from prison is bound to be ques­tioned.

“What is con­cern­ing is that these ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sions come in the wake of the ju­di­ciary hav­ing sanc­tioned and sen­tenced of­fend­ers.

“The ques­tion many peo­ple will ask is whether such ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sions are not merely taken to score po­lit­i­cal points.

“If the ex­ec­u­tive is, by law, al­lowed to use its dis­cre­tion, is it done in a man­ner that un­der­mines the ju­di­ciary?”

Mathekga’s re­ac­tion has res­onated with a view ex­pressed by Demo­cratic Al­liance (DA) MP Gly­nis Breyten­bach who has slammed the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion as mak­ing the work of pros­e­cu­tors dif­fi­cult.

“The fruits of their hard labour are now to be re­warded by spe­cial re­mis­sions for more than 14 000 con­victed crim­i­nals – a reck­less and fool­hardy ap­proach, while thou­sands of South Africans fall vic­tim to crime on a daily ba­sis,” said Breyten­bach. Asked for com­ment on con­cerns raised by Dalindyebo’s spokesper­son Mthunzi Ngonyama that the king was “unhappy with pa­role con­di­tions” and sought a pres­i­den­tial par­don, jus­tice and cor­rec­tional ser­vices spokesper­son Chrispin Phiri said: “King Dalindyebo has been re­leased through the Pa­role Board be­cause he has com­plied with pa­role con­di­tions, which in­clude the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive pro­gramme and restora­tive jus­tice.

“The pres­i­den­tial par­don is ex­er­cised by the pres­i­dent once he has sat­is­fied him­self on whether some­one de­serves be­ing granted such.

“He may grant or deny the par­don.”

On con­cerns by Mathekga and Bry­ten­bach that Dalindyebo was re­leased de­spite hav­ing com­mit­ted se­ri­ous crimes, mak­ing him pose a dan­ger to so­ci­ety, he said: “So­ci­ety should be aware of the fact that ev­ery­one in any of our cor­rec­tional cen­tres will one day be re­leased.

“This is a stan­dard pro­ce­dure and not a mat­ter for King Dalindyebo alone, be­cause ev­ery­one goes through the cor­rec­tional cen­tre to be re­ha­bil­i­tated.”

His re­lease from prison is bound to be ques­tioned

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

FREE MAN. King Buyelekhay­a Dalindyebo was yes­ter­day re­leased from prison on pa­role.

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