Durban - Support for embattled AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo is gaining momentum in KwaZulu-Natal, with local members of the clan expected to hold an emergency meeting at the weekend to decide on how best to defend their king.
Vusi Mvelase, the Abathembu national executive committee chairman, said that after the meeting, held in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape this week, KZN clan members decided to hold their own meeting.
Pietermaritzburg-based Mvelase led a campaign four years ago to have the Abathembu secede from South Africa – with their own land – which has since gone quiet.
Dalindyebo held a meeting with thousands of his subjects in Mthatha on Monday after President Jacob Zuma had written him a letter giving him 30 days to justify why he should not be removed from his kingship position.
Zuma said he had received complaints from members of the AbaThembu, and the king was accused of bringing the royal house into disrepute.
Dalindyebo has also failed in his attempt to appeal against a 15-year prison sentence.
Mvelase said that Zuma’s action had been interpreted as an insult to the AbaThembu nation. “As the king of the AbaThembu, we will continue to support him to the end,” said Mvelase, whose surname is Dalindyebo’s clan name.
He said the nation had been upset by the negative publicity around their king.
“Even calling him dagga king is upsetting. How many kings smoke dagga, but they are not called ‘dagga kings’?” he said.
He said the meeting would either take place in Msinga, near Greytown, or in Durban.
Dalindyebo has failed to appeal against his 15-year sentence for culpable homicide, arson and kidnapping. He committed the crimes between 1995 and 1996, and was convicted and sentenced in 2009.
He then approached the Supreme Court of Appeal to have the sentence thrown out.
It was reported this week that the appeal had been rejected after he failed to complete the required paperwork, which left him vulnerable to arrest.
Mvelase said that that was “shocking news” to the AbaThembu. “During the meeting in Mthatha, no one told us about the failed appeal. People are now mixing issues. It is a pity that the issue of the appeal comes up now while we are dealing with Zuma’s letter.
“As the big nation which gave birth to great leaders like Mandela, we always expect to be attacked,” he said.