The ANC in the Amathole region has called for abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's temporary release to attend the funeral of Xhosa king Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu who died earlier in November.In a statement released on Monday, regional secretary Thembalethu Ntutu called on the Department of Correctional Services to grant Dalindyebo compassionate leave to attend the funeral.This after the ANC's regional executive committee of the Amathole region met last week to discuss a range of issues including Dalindyebo's attendance at the funeral.It is unclear if Dalindyebo, who is serving a 12-year sentence, has applied for the leave.In 2009, the Eastern Cape High Court sentenced him to 15 years in jail for seven counts of kidnapping, three of assault, three of arson, and one each of defeating the ends of justice, culpable homicide, and defeating the ends of justice.The Supreme Court of Appeal shaved off three years of his sentence in 2015 which he started serving in December of that year. The Correctional Services Act allows for inmates to apply for compassionate leave if a direct relative dies."This provision, however, doesn't sufficiently and correctly take into cognisance the family structure of black African families and certainly does not in any way cater for sensitive cultural responsibilities which often need to be performed by people who are not direct descendants but who are of the same bloodline," Ntutu said.He added this provision was "Eurocentric", raising concerns such relatives were not considered because of how it was interpreted by the government."This may lead to King Buyelekhaya being comprised."Ntutu, however, said this should not be mistaken as a call for Dalindyebo's unconditional release from prison."The ANC respects the rule of law and believes that all convicted prisoners must serve their sentences, not only as punishment but as a method of rehabilitation, preparing them for re-introduction into society."Many have joined the call for Dalindyebo's release and a presidential pardon.READ MORE: 'Release King Dalindyebo from prison' - Traditional leaders to RamaphosaEarlier this year, a report was drawn up by former justice minister Michael Masutha regarding the presidential pardon and given to President Cyril Ramaphosa."King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu was one of the most prominent voices, petitioning for the release of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo through the legislative prerogative granted to the president of the Republic of South Africa."Through extensive lobbying and rehabilitative work by the amaXhosa king, the majority of the royal houses and members of the traditional councils in South Africa have pledged their unconditional support to pardon King Dalindyebo," Ntutu said.He added Dalindyebo's fate remains "in limbo" as there had been "no response to the request he made for a presidential pardon"."As the ANC in Amathole we are calling for the president to respond to the request which has been with the Office of the President for quite some time."We believe that President Cyril Ramaphosa should honor the memory of King Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu by giving the king of the abaThembu his long-awaited response and grant him leave to pay his last respects to the late king of the amaXhosa, Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu," Ntutu said.