Angry king Dalindyebo seeks independent state

2009-12-23 10:04

The king of the abaThembu, facing a 15-year jail sentence for a

string of violent crimes, has hit on a novel solution to his legal woes: he

plans to form an independent state.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in a statement issued by his

lawyer Votani Majola.

It followed an earlier ultimatum that President Jacob Zuma publicly

apologise to the abaThembu tribe for the “humiliation” of the king, Buyelekhaya

Dalindyebo, in court.

The Justice for King Dalindyebo Campaign, which Majola heads, had

also demanded that all charges against the king be scrapped and that the

government pay R80 billion in compensation.

Dalindeybo was sentenced to jail by an Mthatha judge earlier this

month for offences including culpable homicide, kidnapping, arson and assault

with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

He is on bail pending appeal.

In the statement on Tuesday Majola said the abaThembu would

“withdraw from the South African government” on January 6 to form an independent


This was an “executive decision” by the king.

“The official withdrawal notice will be delivered to the Parliament

of the Republic of South Africa in Cape Town on the 06/01/2010 at midday by the

delegation of AbaThembu to be led by His Majesty King Dalindyebo,” said


This would be followed by talks on transitional arrangements which

it was anticipated that the South African government would finance.

Zuma had been notified, Majola said.

He said the state of Thembuland would include at least

Kwazulu-Natal, the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape, and parts of the Free

State and Gauteng.

The task team said in a statement released last week that it had

information that suggested that the abaThembu were the largest tribe in South

Africa with estimated members “in excess of 10 million or so”.

“There is also information that suggests that about 60% of the land

in South Africa legitimately belongs to AbaThembu,” it said.

“Johannesburg and Durban are among the cities that are built on our

land. We have no reason to disbelieve this information.”

It said Dalindyebo’s trial was in fact political persecution,

driven by the African National Congress and aimed at toppling the king and

installing a “puppet leader”.

The criminal charges against Dalindyebo stemmed from violence

against his subjects in the Tyhalara area in the early 1990s, during which a

woman and children were kidnapped, homes burned and youths assaulted, of whom

one died.

As head of the abaThembu, Dalindyebo is Nelson Mandela’s tribal


He is a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative.

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