Government strips acting AbaThembu King Azenathi Dalindyebo of his title, benefits and car

Azenathi Dalindyebo has been told to step down as acting king.
Azenathi Dalindyebo has been told to step down as acting king.
Lubabalo Ngcukana/City Press
  • Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has ordered acting King Azenathi Dalindyebo to immediately vacate his father's palace.
  • He has also been ordered to leave behind state support resources, including a white Jeep SUV, petrol cards and cellphones.
  • The sacking is expected to pave the way for the re-coronation of his father, the rightful king of AbaThembu Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.

Acting AbaThembu King Azenathi Dalindyebo has been fired from his position by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.

Mabuyane has also ordered Azenathi to immediately vacate the Bumbane Great Place palace and leave behind the state cellphones, government car and petrol cards as his term of office has come to an end.

In a letter dated 19 June, Mabuyane reminded Azenathi that his contract expired on 8 February, 2020.

"You are hereby informed that your services have been terminated with immediate effect and your last date of salary was 15  June, 2020."

Mabuyane added: "You are hereby requested to vacate the office and palace of Dalindyebo Kingship with immediate effect on receipt of this correspondence."

Review

All government support resources, namely motor vehicle, fuel cards and cellphones are expected to be collected from Azenathi by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) officials.

Mabuyane said his actions were mandated by section 26, sub-section 5 of 2017, which reads as follows:

"The Premier must review an acting appointment of an acting traditional leader every three years to establish whether the acting appointment is still necessary."

Azenathi failed to respond to News24's messages at the time of writing. His comment will be added once received.

Contacted for comment to verify the legitimacy of the letter, the premier's spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha confirmed that Mabuyane had sent it to  Azenathi.

"This communication means AbaThembu King, His Majesty, Zwelibanzi Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo returns to his throne. This is done in line with relevant and applicable legislations regulating such processes and decisions. Government wants to complete this process soon," he said.

The sacking is expected to pave the way for the re-coronation of his father, Buyelakhaya Dalindyebo, the rightful king of AbaThembu, whose reign was interrupted by his incarceration in 2015.

READ | Dalindyebo released from prison

Azenathi ascended to the throne in 2016, despite his father instructing him not to vie for the royal position and informing him that he wanted his wife to act while he was in jail.

After serving only four years of his 12-year sentence, Buyelakhaya was released from prison in December and wanted his son to step down.

Buyelakhaya was released on a special remission of sentence by President Cyril Ramaphosa as part of a Reconciliation Day decision to grant special remission to certain categories of offenders.

Father and son then clashed to the extent that Azenathi opened a case of assault against his father after Buyelakhaya allegedly attacked him with an axe at 3am on 13 March.

Protection order

Azenathi also obtained a protection order against his father and the matter is still before the courts.

Buyelakhaya wanted his wife to act on his behalf while he was in prison, and had written a series of letters advising the then-University of Free State student Azenathi to focus on his studies instead.

He had always maintained in his letters that, as a father, he cannot be subjected to his son. 

Buyelakhaya was sent to jail in 2015, after a long appeals process ended, for arson, kidnapping, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice. He was found guilty of terrorising some of his subjects in the 1990s.

READ | King Dalindyebo gets backing of Abathembu faction in royal DNA drama

Last month, City Press reported that the royal family of the kingdom of AbaThembu wanted to know why Azenathi continued to receive a salary and other benefits from the government.

Last month, the royal family, known also as the Ngangelizwe Royal Family, wrote to Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha, asking him to explain why Azenathi continued to receive a salary/stipend, a state-sponsored vehicle and other benefits, despite his acting period having lapsed.

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