King Dalindyebo must hand himself over - justice ministry

DECEMBER 23, 2015

AbaThembu King Buyelakhaya Dalindyebo is expected to present himself at the Mthatha prison to start serving his 12-year jail sentence on Wednesday, despite his petition to the justice ministry to reopen his case.

The ministry said on Wednesday it was considering the petition from his lawyer Yasmin Omar, but that it could not reverse his bail conditions. According to the bail conditions Dalindyebo had to hand himself over by end of day on December 23.

Omar petitioned Justice Minister Michael Masutha to direct that the king's trial be reopened in terms of Section 327 of the Criminal Procedure Act, ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

"The relevant section is only applicable to that person if there is new evidence that has since surfaced that may affect his or her conviction. The Minister is currently considering the petition and will respond as soon as all the necessary assessment has been done," Mhaga said in a statement.

Mhaga said bail conditions set by the Mthatha High Court were still applicable, meaning Dalindyebo had to hand himself over to the Mthatha prison on Wednesday.

"An application or petition by any individual or group that seeks to invoke Section 327 of the Criminal Procedure Act does not suspend the bail conditions. In the absence of a variation of that order, he is expected to report at Mthatha Correctional Centre today,” Mhaga said.

On December 2, the Constitutional Court dismissed Dalindyebo’s appeal against his 12-year jail sentence. In 2009, Dalindyebo was 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 to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

On October 1, the SCA set aside Dalindyebo's culpable homicide conviction, but confirmed the rest of the guilty verdicts. It reduced his sentence to 12 years. He was subsequently granted R6 000 bail pending his appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The charges all related Dalindyebo's mistreatment of his subjects between 1995 and 1996, on a farm he owned near Mthatha.

Dalindyebo set fire to the houses of three tenants to evict them because he believed they had breached tribal rules. He publicly assaulted three young men for crimes they had allegedly committed.

Dalindyebo's subjects beat to death a fourth man, Saziso Wafa, who they had suspected of having been party to the alleged crimes. They allegedly did this on the king's instructions. The SCA was however not convinced that the king was guilty of culpable homicide.