President Cyril Ramaphosa will wait until after the elections to say whether AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo will be pardoned, the king’s spokesperson said.
“The Presidency has today (Friday) indicated to me in writing that Ramaphosa’s decision on whether or not to release the king will be communicated in the new administration after elections,” Mthunzi Ngonyama said.
However, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, could not confirm this.
“I don’t know that. I know that the president is still applying his mind to the application before him.”
On Friday there was a meeting between the AbaThembu people and acting AbaThembu king Azenathi Dalindyebo at the Bumbane Great Palace in the Eastern Cape.
The acting king told news channel eNCA that the AbaThembu people were briefed on the status of the pardon and were assured that the king will return home soon, at which point he will step down.
He also dismissed the legitimacy of a statement, allegedly made by Dalindyebo, that the government should release him or face an election boycott. He said it was undemocratic to intimidate people into not voting.
But Ngonyama disagreed with this stance, saying the statement did not intimidate anyone.
“That is his view that the statement was illegitimate, but the king himself has said that.”
“You cannot intimidate anyone into not voting but there is no basis to say that statement intimidated people or that the statement was false,” Ngonyama added.
Ngonyama expressed his disappointment at Ramaphosa’s handling of the matter.
“We have followed all constitutional accepted practices to get the attention of President Ramaphosa, but all attempts were ignored despite the president’s office’s commitment that he will respond within seven days to the 24 September 2018 and second reminder petition that was delivered to the Union Buildings on the 2nd April 2019.”
As a result a “peaceful picketing” event has been arranged for May 5 outside Ellis Park Stadium during the ANC’s last campaign rally before the elections. The picket will call for Ramaphosa to address them on Dalindyebo’s release.
Dalindyebo is serving a 12-year sentence for arson, assault, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.