The customary king of the Thembu ethnic group to which Nelson Mandela belonged was granted parole on Monday as part of a remission by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to more than 14,600 prisoners, the ministry announced. Justice.
Buleyekhaya Dalindyebo, 55, is the king of the Thembu, an Xhosa ethnic group, of which the first black president of South Africa was the most prestigious member.
Incarcerated since 2015, Dalindyebo was serving a 12-year prison sentence at East London Prison Center in the southwest of the country for arson, kidnapping and assault on some of his subjects.
« King Dalindyebo’s sentence has been reduced by 12 months, » Ministry of Justice and Corrections spokesman Chrispin Phiri told AFP. « In addition to that, he was already qualified for parole since October ».
In 2009, the king was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter, arson and assault for offenses committed more than two decades earlier. But in October 2015, the Supreme Court dropped the manslaughter charge and reduced its sentence to 12 years on appeal.
Confessed marijuana smoker
The 51-year-old king, an avowed marijuana smoker, was found guilty of burning down houses that housed some of his subjects and tenants who had resisted an eviction.
He was also convicted of publicly attacking three young men who had been brutally beaten by his henchmen and of abducting a woman and children from one of his subjects whom he considered to be a dissident.
Last week, President Ramaphosa announced that he had granted a special sentence reduction to prisoners and people on parole.
The cases of the more than 14,600 prisoners involved were examined by the Parole Board and subjected to strict criteria, including their good conduct and consultation with the community in which the crime was committed.
In order to reduce the overcrowding of cells, prisoners who were serving sentences because they could not afford a fine were also able to benefit from these measures, with the exception of the perpetrators of sex crimes.
Kings have no official power in modern South Africa, but millions remain loyal to them. They are recognized in the Constitution as traditional chiefs and receive government funding.