Despite being in different political camps, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu spoke with one voice this weekend when they called for the pardon and release from prison of AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo.
And AbaThembu senior traditional leader and Dalindyebo’s ally, Chief Dumisani Mgudlwa, also said President Jacob Zuma must be allowed to finish his term and not be asked to resign over the poor performance of the ANC.
“The fault does not solely rest with him, but with the leadership collective,” Mgudlwa said.
“He is just the driver of the bus and among his passengers or luggage there might some wolves and sharks. “Let us deal with them all.” Vavi, Sisulu and Mgudlwa were speaking at the funeral of Queen Nolitha Dalindyebo, nee Wendy Galada, one of the monarch’s five wives, at her parents’ home in Qhumanco near Ngcobo.
Mgudlwa acknowledged that people were unhappy with how the country was being run and that many had voted for the DA.
“ANC members deliberately voted DA and offered the metro [Nelson Mandela Bay Metro] to the DA on a silver platter in the hopes of the ANC coming to its senses.
“If the ANC does not listen, it will lose the 2019 general elections.”
Mgudlwa believes the ANC could be restored to its former glory if it worked with the general membership, traditional leaders, the clergy and other sectors.
“We are looking forward to seeing people like you, Zwelinzima Vavi, coming back home to the ANC,” Mgudlwa said to Vavi.
Vavi and Sisulu were united in their call for Dalindyebo’s release.
“We believe if he was a king from another province, he would not be languishing in jail,” Vavi said.
“It would not be possible. But it is possible to jail King Dalindyebo, because the people of the Eastern Cape are so disunited and selfish – and unable to speak with one voice.
“It serves no purpose for King Dalindyebo to continue to be incarcerated.
“We are calling on President Zuma to forgive the monarch and release him.
“A statement has been made that nobody is above the law.
“That the king is languishing in prison communicates this statement to society, but we know these things are about political wins.
“I don’t see what the president would gain by not granting him a pardon.”
Sisulu and Dalindyebo’s friendship goes back 30 years, and she said she regarded him as a brother.
“Our comradeship with Zwelibanzi does not end when there is trouble,” Sisulu said.
“I have been assisting him in his legal issues.
“The king is hurt by the death of his wife and the fact that he is still incarcerated.
“As a Thembu, I would be happy if the king were released and came back to lead us.
“We joined in the application for a presidential pardon submitted by Contralesa.”
Although the funeral was not held at the king’s Bumbane Great Place near Mthatha, hundreds of AbaThembu mourners attended.
Among them were the king’s siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts, three of his wives – Nokwanda, Nocollege and Noluntu – as well as his son, Prince Azenathi.
The Galada family apparently did not recognise the marriage between Dalindyebo and their daughter.
Sisulu read a message written by Dalindyebo to the Galadas, where he acknowledged “some untidiness” over the manner in which Wendy became his wife and apologised to the Galada family.
“The marriage of Nolitha or Wendy is recognised by the Dalindyebo royal family, although there has been some untidiness with regard to lobola issues. But I am committed to fixing these mistakes as soon as the mourning period is over,” the message read.