Less than a month into his 12-year jail term, AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo is recovering from an ailment at a private hospital in the Eastern Cape, safe in the knowledge that his R1.1m salary and medical aid is still being paid.
Eastern Cape Correctional Services spokesperson Zama Feni said Dalindyebo took ill again late on Saturday night and was admitted to a private facility for treatment because he has medical aid.
Without disclosing the nature of the maverick monarch’s illness, he said the king was entitled to have the best treatment and if he had a medical aid, he could go to a private hospital.
It is the second time he has been admitted since all his appeals and a petition to the Justice Minister Michael Masutha failed and he started serving his sentence for assaulting some of his subjects.
His family earlier said he suffered from a stomach ulcer.
Dalindyebo had pulled out all the stops to avoid going to jail, including an attempt at invoking a custom that a subject may serve his sentence.
And because there is a dispute over who should succeed him, the process of appointing a new king has been held up and he is still receiving his salary.
Eastern Cape Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam confirmed a report in the Daily News on Thursday that it was payday as usual for the king this month.
He would provide further details later, but Charles Nwaila, director general in the department of traditional affairs, explained that the legal process of dethroning the king had not been finalised yet.
Meetings earlier in January appeared to have settled the matter, with a decision to submit a request to Cogta Minister David van Rooyen, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle and President Jacob Zuma that he be “administratively” dethroned.
He had already been customarily dethroned when his spear was taken away from him.
Nwaila explained that removing a king was subject to the Traditional Leadership and Co-operative Governance Framework Act.
“Two submissions have been received from different royal family members,” he said.
All that is left now is for one candidate to be chosen.
In terms of Section 10 of the Act, the relevant customary structure has to meet and take a decision to remove the king within a reasonable time.
In terms of of Section 9, read with Section 10 of the Act, the candidate must be of sound mind, not be insolvent, and not sentenced to a term of one year or longer without the option of bail.
The department was currently arranging a meeting to iron out these issues.
Once this was done, the paperwork requesting that his certificate be withdrawn, would go through the channels of premier, minister and president.
Zuma will then apply his mind and make a decision.
Dalindyebo once called Zuma a liar and joined the Democratic Alliance. He has since reportedly apologised to Zuma and was kicked out of the DA when he was sentenced.
Only when Zuma has announced his decision, will the certificate proclaiming him king be withdrawn.
He will also have to hand over the royal car, for example.
In terms of Section 21 of same Act, these processes must be followed.
“While he is in jail, technically, until the royal family withdraws, he would remain a king,” said Nwaila.
“It is a technical thing which we hope will be finalised soon.”
It was hoped that the whole process would be finalised soon, because the Act says it should be done in a “reasonable period”.
Dalindyebo is not the first prisoner afforded private care. Clive Derby-Lewis, convicted for his part in the shooting of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani, was treated for cancer in a private hospital in Pretoria, before his release on parole.
Zuma’s former financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, also spent most of his short sentence in hospital and was released on medical parole with a terminal illness. News24