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