AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo had words of encouragement for his long-time foe, Jacob Zuma, ahead of the former president’s battle against a 15-month jail term for contempt.
Dalindyebo was previously convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping, assault and arson, but only served four years after President Cyril Ramaphosa granted some prisoners early parole in 2019.
His feud with Zuma dates back to 2014, when Zuma wrote to Dalindyebo asking him to make representations about why his recognition certificate as king should not be withdrawn.
This followed a string of legal battles until Dalindyebo’s ultimate conviction in 2015.
In 2016, Dalindyebo petitioned Zuma for a presidential pardon, but his application was dismissed.
However, Dalindyebo issued a statement on Monday, in which he gave words of encouragement to Zuma.
“Many thought when you are being prosecuted, cornered, driven straight to the prison doors, with your dignity under severe attack, they thought Zwelibanzi is now feeling vindicated, because you are about to follow my rough path in life or taste the medication that you once served to others while you were in power as the president of this country.
“I don’t blame them for thinking in that way though,” he wrote.
“In short, as the head of the Madiba clan, head of the AbaThembu nation, I give you all my love and support.
“It is not for me to judge,” Dalindyebo said.
He also encouraged Zuma’s legal stance of refusing to appear before the state capture commission due to judge Raymond Zondo’s refusal to recuse himself.
“I see no malicious act or defiant action in that; instead what should be viewed as defiant is when you were to make an application for recusal to be assessed by the same person you were not happy with, where there is a rationale there,” Dalindyebo said.
“I agree with you if Zondo did an honourable thing, by recusing himself, we [would] not have [had to go] this far.
“I have served four years in prison under harsh … conditions.
“My family was so humiliated in the process, especially my wife and children,” he said.
“There is no way I would love someone at your age to go through the same, irrespective of our differences.”
The AbaThembu king confessed to having been a past critic of Zuma’s tenure.
“I must admit, at times I felt betrayed, ridiculed, humiliated, reduced to nothing by your former administration in many ways one can imagine.
“Yes, I have voiced my anger towards you, when I felt you were stepping on my toes; interfering in my family affairs without my invitation,” Dalindyebo said.
Zuma faces a 15-month sentence ordered by the Constitutional Court for refusing to face questions at the anti-corruption commission looking into allegations of corruption during his time as president.
He was due to hand himself over to the authorities on Sunday, but the court agreed to hear a rescission application on July 12. —