Jacob Zuma ‘doesn’t have powers to remove Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’

2014-09-05 15:59

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Lawyers representing President Jacob Zuma were at pains trying to distance the president from moves to dethrone abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

The president’s lawyers and the king were in court following moves to dethrone the king by the abaThembu royal family.

Zuma wrote to Dalindyebo in July, asking him to make representations within 30 days why his certificate of recognition should not be removed.

This followed a letter written to Zuma by a concerned group of abaThembu asking that Dalindyebo be removed as king because of what they termed the “unroyal behaviour” on his part.

Dalindyebo asked Zuma to withdraw his letter and apologise or he would approach the courts.

When Dalindyebo asked the court to interdict Zuma from dethroning him, the president ¬¬¬¬- through the state attorney’s office in Mthatha - opposed the matter, but then failed to file answering affidavits by the stipulated deadline.

In a Mthatha courtroom today, advocate Nceba Dukada (SC) tried to do damage control on behalf of the president, who was blamed for jumping the gun in the matter.

“It must be clear that the president played no role whatsoever in the decision of the royal family to remove the king,” Dukada said.

He said that in inviting the king to make representations, Zuma was simply complying with the Constitution. “His actions are not motivated by any political interest in the matter.

“The president has resolved not to consider the request of the royal family to remove the king until the court has given a ruling regarding the existing dispute in the royal family,” he said.

“The president is not hellbent on removing the king as it has been portrayed in media.” In fact the president did not have the legal powers to remove the king.

The urgent application was brought by advocate Dali Mpofu representing the abaThembu king before acting judge Justin Laing at the Mthatha High Court.

Mpofu argued that the respondents – the president, the minister of cooperative governance and Thanduxolo Mtirara, who represents the royal family - should pay the costs of the application, including a punitive cost.

Mpofu said the king, who was in court with a large group of abaThembu who packed the public gallery, was being victimised by the respondents by asking for a postponement.

Read: Zuma’s lies are catching up with him

Mpofu said the matter was urgent and had to be dealt with expeditiously as it was a “life and death” situation.

“This matter deals with serious issues of constitutional matters. The president sparked the situation of us being here. The king was sitting in his palace and received a letter to say why he should not be removed as king in 30 days. That on its own shows urgency.”

Mpofu said allegations made by Mtirara were a figment of his imagination.

The matter continues after lunch with advocate Phillip Zilwa (SC), who represents Mtirara, addressing the court.

Mthatha Courtroom A was full to capacity with chiefs from abaThembu, the public, members of political parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance, to support the king.

The king, wearing a navy suit, entered the court with a large contingent of abaThembu chiefs, including the king’s brothers.

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