Victims: king must pay R2.8m
Five of those Dalindyebo harmed, want him released – but at a price
Five of the seven victims of jailed AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo want President Cyril Ramaphosa to grant the monarch a presidential pardon, saying they have forgiven him.
However, while the families have said Ramaphosa should implement justice minister Michael Masutha’s recommendation to release Dalindyebo, they want the monarch to pay R400,000 as compensation for each of his victims.
This amounts to R2.8m. Dalindyebo’s son and acting king, Prince Azenathi, confirmed the family was aware of the R400,000 demand, but would not be drawn into commenting.
The victims said it had been Azenathi who spearheaded the process to have the victims forgive his father, when he first met them in 2017, followed by a series of meetings.
Dalindyebo’s victims said they did not want the king to die in prison. This after being told by Azenathi that the king’s health had deteriorated. The king has served four of his 12-year sentence for crimes he committed between 1995 and 1996 at Tyhalarha village, where Dalindyebo torched three properties belonging to local men, kidnapped a woman and six children and a charge of defeating the ends of justice.
He was initially sentenced to 15 years by Mthatha high court judge Sytze Alkema, but successfully appealed and had his culpable homicide conviction overturned. The culpable homicide charge was as a result of the death of Saziso Wofa, 18, following an assault.
The Daily Dispatch met with five victims – Mbuzeni Makhwenkwana, Stokwana Sonteya’s widow Nocingile and brother Wayiya Sonteya, Welile Dumo and Saziso’s father Koto Wofa.
Malandela Sontanase has since died while Lunga Pama or his family could not be reached for comment.
The elderly Wayiya, who suffered a stroke and is bedridden, and who also had his houses torched, together with those of his brother, said he had long forgiven the king.
“I am now old and want to die a happy man with peace in my heart. I have forgiven my king. “Even if he was not a king, I would do the same and forgive. There is life in forgiveness. There is peace in forgiving and he has been punished enough and [he has] learnt a lesson.
“I would love to shake his [king’s] hands before I die and I would be happy to see him back to lead us as his people,” he said.
Makhwenkwana, who had two of his houses torched, said because Dalindyebo “took responsibility” for his actions, they had decided to forgive him.“It is high time that the king should be released and come back to lead the mighty AbaThembu kingdom.”Nocingile, 71, and her six children who were kidnapped by the king on June 20 1995, said when her husband died in 2017, he had been at peace as he had already forgiven Dalindyebo.Nocingile watched on helplessly as her four houses, three kraals and a garden were torched while her children – the youngest was only nine months old – were kidnapped by the king. “I won’t lie, that was a very sad day.“But I have put all of that behind me and have forgotten about things that happened more than 20 years ago.“I was worried and touched when I saw Azenathi humbling himself and said his father was remorseful and his health was deteriorating and humbly requested us to forgive him [king]. He said that it was pity that his father was in jail and could not himself come and apologise.“I beg the president to release him; he has served his time and it’s time that he should come back and lead us AbaThembu as the nation of his father. We do not want Zwelibanzi to die in prison,” she said.Dumo, who was assaulted by Dalindyebo because he had been accused of rape, echoed these sentiments.“In fact, I never bore a grudge against him. Even when he is in jail I respected him as my king.”While the five families said they wanted Ramaphosa to grant Dalindyebo a presidential pardon, they said their pain should not be used to score cheap political points in the lead-up to next month’s elections.“This is now used as an electioneering ticket and publicity stunt at the expense of our pain. They make it seem like the president is under duress or is held to ransom to release, or deny the king freedom.“As victims, we speak of reconciliation, forgiveness and restorative justice,” said Makhwenkwana.This could be seen as being directed at some monarchs who said they had given Ramaphosa seven days to release Dalindyebo or else they would tell their subjects not to vote for the ANC.Speaking about the R400,000 compensation, the victims said that it was just that – for compensation.“This is not buying our forgiveness for the king. But because we had houses burnt and spent a fortune rebuilding them. We just request something to make us happy.”Although the victims requested R400,000 each, a yet undisclosed business person built each of them a three-roomed house and a rondavel in 2017. Another unnamed person also donated R100,000 to share among them, while school uniforms and books were bought for their children.“All I can say is that we are aware of the compensation requested by the families,” Azenathi said.Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko referred queries to justice department spokesperson Max Mpunzana, who said “the contents of the consultation are confidential, but we can confirm that no certain demand has been made to the government”.Azenathi said they were happy the families had forgiven Dalindyebo, saying it takes a “good heart” to forgive when wronged...