Convicted abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has found an ally in a new Mpumalanga-based political party that has called for his release.
Dalindyebo was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2015 after he was found guilty of assault, arson, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice following punishments he meted out to some of his subjects when they appeared before his traditional court.
The SA National Congress of Traditional Authorities (Sancota) – which campaigns on the traditional Africanism card – thinks it sets a “bad precedent” for a king to serve jail time, and the party believes that Dalindyebo’s incarceration was “politically motivated”.
Behind the formation of Sancota is Deputy President David Mabuza’s former ally, Themba Sigudla, who is also the president of Practical Radical Economic Transformation of SA (Pret SA), an economic lobby group advocating for jobs and business opportunities for unemployed youngsters.
Sancota’s president, Chief Mantjolo Mnisi of eManzana (formerly known as Badplaas), has called for Dalindyebo’s release.
“If government is truly serious about the position of traditional leaders, President Cyril Ramaphosa must release King Dalindyebo.
“The king’s charges and sentencing were politically motivated because he joined the DA. Politicians forget that to be a chief is a birth right and to join a political party is a personal choice,” Mnisi said.
Sancota, he said, was registered with the Independent Electoral Commission and would contest the general elections on May 8.
“We’ve been on the ground since last year, donating food parcels to the elderly and to widows in Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge. We’ve been engaging with traditional leaders in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, as well as with taxi associations,” Mnisi said.
“Our people believe in traditional healing, but it’s not given attention. These days, people want herbs from China … how about African herbs? We want to establish hospitals where traditional healers will work without any fear,” Mnisi said.
He said the party would push for Africanism.
“Sancota is trying to connect us with ourselves. Political parties always talk about communism and socialism, but none talks about Africanism,” he said.
Sigudla said the new party was guaranteed Pret SA members’ votes.
Pret SA, Sigudla said, had more than 1.1 million members on its database.
“As Pret SA, we’ve lost confidence in the ANC leadership, particularly in DD [Mabuza], with whom we worked in the past,” he said.