Royals mum on convict king’s successor

The royal family remains tightlipped about its nominee for Dalindyebo’s position.


Abathembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelinbanzi Dalindyebo. Picture: Refilwe Modise

AbaThembu King Zwelibanzi Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’s successor will be nominated at the royal residence in Bumbane, Engcobo, in the Eastern Cape on December 27.

However, the royal family remains tightlipped about its nominee for Dalindyebo’s position. The king is expected to begin a jail term on December 23 after the failure of his appeal to the Constitutional Court against his 12-year sentence for arson, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm‚ culpable homicide and defeating the ends of justice.

There has been speculation that his son, Prince Azenethi, 23, may take over as the leader while his father is behind bars. Although King Dalindyebo must report to correctional services, it was reported yesterday he intends to use the 14-day period after receiving formal notification of the court’s decision to submit other applications to the court which were not included by his lawyers.

The National Prosecuting Authority can, after 14 days, apply for a committal warrant for him to start serving his sentence and authorise police to take him to jail. AbaThembu royal family spokesperson Daludumo Mtirara said they did not want to interfere with the legal procedures, so the nomination could only take place once the 14 days were over.

“I cannot speak on who will take over because the nomination process has not started. Once we meet, we will decide on the potential candidate and this has to be in line with the custom,” he said.

Mtirara said several factors would be taken into consideration in nominating a successor, including the individual’s level of maturity and concern for the royal family. He said royal family members were always willing to take over.

Although custom should be followed, he said it was an “abnormal situation” for a king to go to jail. Asked what custom dictated in terms of successors, he declined to comment, saying this could not be discussed with the media.

In October, the AbaThembu royal family congratulated the Supreme Court of Appeal for its ruling, stating that justice came first, even in high-profile cases.

The king was not available for comment yesterday.