The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has sent President Jacob Zuma a letter and petition asking him to grant Abathembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo a presidential pardon, the presidency reported on Monday.
King Dalindyebo is currently in prison serving a 12-year sentence after being convicted of crimes he committed in the 90s, which include arson, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice. He started serving his sentence in December last year after a long legal battle which kept him out of jail for years after being found guilty.
A number of people were happy to see the king go to jail as this served as an example to other kings who may feel above the law and end up violating the rights of the people they lead. However, others criticized the South African legal system, saying it was not right for the king to be arrested. Apparently, Contralesa is among those who feel that the king deserves to be set free. In a petition sent to the president on Monday, Contralesa asked Zuma to consider granting King Dalindyebo a presidential pardon.
The presidency acknowledged receipt of the petition on its website and said the president would make his decision when all internal processes have been completed. “The President has duly forwarded the petition and letter to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services for further processing as the Department responsible for such applications. Upon completion of all the internal processes, the Minister will submit the King’s application for pardon to the President for a decision,” the presidency said in a statement.