Johannesburg – He’s the survivor of the year, and the State just can’t explain it. AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has for five years managed to avoid a 15-year jail sentence for culpable homicide, while the State dithers over what to do about him.
“We are still dealing with the matter. We are unable to divulge any details at this point,” Nathi Mncube, national spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), said last week.
“It will be resolved soon.”
The Star had asked again why Dalindyebo wasn’t in jail, following the collapse of an appeal in the matter in early August.
Getting an accused into custody in such a situation requires the State to bring an application to court to cancel his bail and issue a warrant of arrest. No such application appears to be have been brought, and Dalindyebo remains free.
Meanwhile, Dalindyebo’s lawyers are reviving his appeal.
Queenstown attorney Wesley Hayes recently started acting for Dalindyebo and aims to get his appeal back on track. “We have drafted a substantive application for condonation of late filing of appeal,” Hayes said last week. He expects that the application will be filed this week.
Hayes said the delay in filing was due to changes in Dalindyebo’s legal team and in the difficulty of tracing the paperwork in all the cases related to the matter. He said it had been “quite a job” getting the files, and the file for one matter still couldn’t be found.
Dalindyebo, who is king of the AbaThembu and lives near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, is an accomplished survivor, retaining both his freedom and his kingship.
He was convicted in 2009 of culpable homicide, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson, kidnapping and attempting to defeat the ends of justice, relating to disciplinary actions he ordered against his subjects in 1995 and 1996.
He was sentenced to an effective 15 years in jail.
He was granted leave to appeal, but matters were delayed when the court file disappeared. Finally last year, a reconstructed copy of the missing trial file and record was produced.
But the appeal then disappeared.
Dalindyebo never filed appeal papers with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), and in early August, the Department of Justice said the appeal had lapsed as he was now out of time.
He was expected to go to jail, but didn’t.
At the same time, the NPA explained the lack of action against Dalindyebo by saying it had also appealed against the culpable homicide conviction. But the NPA also never filed any appeal papers.
That was the first mention of any possible appeal by the State, as Dalindyebo had had to bring the court application last year to get a copy of the case record; the State had refused to pay for reconstruction of the file on the grounds that it was Dalindyebo who was appealing.
SCA sources have confirmed that no appeal papers were filed by either side in the case. As there’s no appeal, Dalindyebo should have started serving his 15-year sentence, but he remains free.
Dalindyebo openly admits to smoking dagga and has been accused of assaults, including on relatives, disrespecting relatives, and dragging the kingdom into disrepute.
The AbaThembu royal family sent the paperwork to the government for President Jacob Zuma to sign it. In July, Zuma gave Dalindyebo a month to explain why he shouldn’t be removed, and Dalindyebo filed court papers opposing his removal. This case is still pending, but nothing has happened.