TRADITIONAL leaders, a political leader and lawyer have backed AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo in his stand against President Jacob Zuma’s plan to remove him from his hereditary kingship.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) accused Zuma of interfering in the issues of the AbaThembu nation, declaring that the organisation would “fight hard for the king” and vowed they would not allow the dethronement of Dalindyebo.
“We will fight the president. This is the last straw,” said Contralesa general-secretary Xolile Ndevu.
“If [Zuma] can remove one king, [who] is going to be next? Must we wait for that to happen? No, the president is not a super-king. Kings belong to their nations and not to the president,” said Ndevu.
He said that despite the king’s apparent “unroyal” behaviour, Zuma was dealing with matters that were supposed to be dealt with by AmaDlomo, the royal clan name of Dalindyebo, and AbaThembu.
DA provincial leader Athol Trollip said: “I can’t help but feel this is retribution time. Dalindyebo is feeling the wrath of a president who knows that he doesn’t support the president’s government and he has very outspoken personal opinions about the president himself.”
The ANC in the province could not be reached to comment yesterday.
Zuma sent a missive to Dalindyebo last week, giving him 30 days to convince the president why he should not be stripped of his kingship, following submissions from concerned members of the AbaThembu royal family that the king be removed. The decision by the concerned group was taken on September 29 2012 and linked to claims of Dalindyebo smoking dagga publicly and having sexual interest in some of his female relatives.
The king is also awaiting an appeal against convictions relating to the death of one man and assault of three others by villagers who accused them of criminal acts at his Bumbane Great Place.
Zuma’s letter to Dalindyebo was sent under the terms of the the Traditional Leadership Framework Act, which allows the president to confirm decisions of a royal family to appoint or remove a king. The status of Dalindyebo was also investigated by the Nhlapo Commission on traditional leadership which found that the AbaThembu kingship had existed since the first king more than 200 years ago, Nxeko, through assimilating, accommodating and merging communities.
All Nxeko’s successors assumed the status of kings and the kingship had been passed from one generation to the next, according to AbaThembu customary law, the commission found. Government accepted the commission’s findings in respect of Dalindyebo.
Mthatha lawyer Mvuzo Notyesi, who represented AmaMpondomise before on the issue of restoration of their kingdom, thinks Zuma should have waited until the criminal court appeal was completed.
Trollip questioned whether Zuma would have written the letter “if the king had not declared his support for the DA”. “Traditional leadership, almost inevitably, is beholden to the government of the day.”