AbaThembu need to decide on successor to Dalindyebo

DECEMBER 15, 2015

The AbaThembu need to decide who will succeed their King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo after he lost his appeal against his 12-year jail sentence.

“We are now going to come together as a family and work towards stabilising the kingdom. The kingdom must continue, even when the king goes to jail,” royal family spokesperson Daludumo Mtirara said on Tuesday.

On December 2, the Constitutional Court dismissed his appeal against his 12-year jail sentence.

The king would have 14 days after receiving formal notification of the court’s decision to present himself to correctional services in Mthatha, Eastern Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said.

Once the 14 days had lapsed, the NPA could apply for a committal warrant. This required him to start serving his sentence and gave police the authority to take him to jail.

Mtirara said the matter had dragged on since 1995 and had divided the royal family. Talks would be held to decide on who would succeed Dalindyebo.

The AbaThembu royal family would first meet with the Ngangelizwe royal family in Bumbane on December 27 and then the greater Dlomo clan on December 30, to decide on the next steps.

Meetings with the victims of Dalindyebo’s crimes would be held to ensure they received help from the royal family and were reintegrated into the nation, as they felt alienated, he said.

The AmaDlomo clan had reportedly chosen the king's son, Prince Azenethi Dalindyebo, as the heir to the throne. Mtirara would not comment on the possibility of the king’s son succeeding him.

“This is the first time that we have an incumbent king facing a possible jail sentence. We are now going to meet as a family to discuss customs.”

According to AbaThembu customs, the royal family should hold talks with the king about who would succeed him, Mtirara said.

“It has never been done that a king announces his successor before discussing with the royal family. A king cannot announce who takes over if he goes to jail or gets expelled.”

The kingdom had an opportunity to right past wrongs, he said.

“Over the years we realised that we had lost control of the kingdom and we are now ready to regain the control and stability."

In 2009, Dalindyebo was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson, and kidnapping. He was granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

He took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal. On October 1, the SCA replaced his 15-year jail sentence with a 12-year term. He succeeded only in having his conviction on a charge of culpable homicide and the accompanying 10-year jail sentence set aside. The SCA dismissed the rest of his appeal.

He was granted R6000 bail pending his appeal to the Constitutional Court.