23/02/2016. A member of the AbaThembu clan who travelled from the Eastern Cape to the Union Buildings to hand over a petition to the president for the release of jailed King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo sings as she waits for officials from the Presidency. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria - Members of the AbaThembu nation gathered at the Union Buildings on Tuesday calling for President Jacob Zuma to grant their head, King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo a presidential pardon.

More than a hundred members of the clan, including senior religious figures and the king's representatives sang and chanted on the lawns of the Union Buildings. They had with them a memorandum with a list of demands for their convicted king who is serving 12 years in prison.

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Members of the clan said the constitution compels the president to consider their petition to pardon and release the AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo from jail.

The Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa (Contralesa), said it's now pinning all its hopes on President Jacob Zuma to pardon the monarch.

Archbishop Mbulelo Mvubu who handed over the memorandum to said the King administered justice as requested by the traditional community who brought cases of theft, murder, rape as well as defiance of a community resolution on reserved grazing land.

“He never had a personal vendetta against anyone among those accused, he never had any personal relationship that ended up in an outrage, he only acted as expected by the community that he led by virtue of being a King,” said Mvubu.

Read: Taxpayers still paying jailed king’s salary

Calling the sentence a sham , Mvubu said Dalindyebo was targeted because he was a king. Mvubu said the conviction of Dalindyebo had led to deep divisions in within the clan which was left without a sense of direction.

A representative of the presidency Melisizwe Bleki received the memorandum and said the Presidency and Department of Justice were aware of reports that Dalindyebo who was sentenced for arson, assault, kidnapping and culpable homicide was seeking a presidential pardon.

“The presidency will refer the matter to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services for consideration,” said Bleki.

He said upon completion of all the internal processes, the minister will submit the king's application for pardon to the president for a decision.

This is the second time a memorandum has been handed over to the presidency.

Last month, Zuma referred a letter and petition from the Eastern Cape chairperson of Contralesa, Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyane, to the justice and correctional services departments.

Dalindyebo was sentenced to 12 years in prison for crimes related to the treatment of some of his subjects in 1995 and 1996.

Pretoria News