South Africa: One Country, Two Laws?

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King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of Thembu ethnic group, South Africa might spend the next 12 years in jail, after the country’s highest court threw out his bid to overturn the earlier verdict against him. The King, who belongs to the same ethnic group as former President Nelson Mandela, was convicted of kidnapping, assault and arson following damaging accusation of mistreatment of his subjects more than two decades ago.

He was accused of kidnapping a woman and her six children, and setting her home on fire, maliciously beaten up youths, resulting in the death of one of them. All these inglorious acts were committed simply because one of the relatives of the victims failed to appear before the king’s traditional court.

Efforts made by King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo and his lawyer, Yasmin Omar to reopen the case was denied by Justice Minister Michael Masutha. This makes it more likely that King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo could be the first monarch in South Africa to be jailed since the country became a democracy in 1994. With the latest news, discussions are going on whether to crown his son, Prince Azenethi Dalindyebo as the next monarch. Meanwhile, King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has arrived at Wellington Prison to begin serving is 12 -year prison sentence.

In a judgement in October, the Supreme Court of Appeal says of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo`s infamous acts:

“His behaviour was all the more deplorable because the victims of his reign of terror were the vulnerable rural poor, who were dependent upon him. Our constitution does not countenance such behaviour,

It goes further:

“We are a constitutional democracy in which everyone is accountable and where the most vulnerable are entitled to protection.

Any honest thinking individual must commend the gallant stand and judicious verdict of the court in the face of the atrocious acts of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. The applauded judgement of the court will go a long way in sending a strong, unequivocal message to all and sundry who might, by nature of their position or social hierarchy, think that they are above the law.

However, on the other hand, sometime in April 2015, the beautiful Rainbow Country, South Africa was put on a terribly negative spotlight around the world. Images of brutish, horrendous and xenophobic slaughtering of innocent foreigners took the whole world by surprise. Some innocent black immigrants were heinously burnt and murdered and many other foreigners, the unfortunate victims of hate, were forced to sadly flee South Africa for safety.

King Zwelithini

The brutal crimes were committed after instigating and inflammable xenophobic remarks were allegedly made by King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zulu, the same ethnic group, President Zuma belongs to. King Zwelithini allegedly, claimed that when South Africans were in exile during the apartheid period, they did not settle like foreigners in South Africa do (as if exiled South Africans were forbidden from settling in their new countries or the money from the businesses owned by foreigners in South Africa ““ most of them from countries that helped to liberate South Africa from the dark apartheid regime ““ was not a contribution to the economy of King Goodwill Zwelithini`s country). He went on to allege that foreigners had taken over the wealth of South Africans because the immigrants had realized that South Africans were stupid.

The King did not end there:

“(But now) when you walk in the street you cannot recognise a shop that you used to know because it has been taken over by foreigners, who then mess it up by hanging amanikiniki (derogatorily, “rag“).” “It cannot be that in 2015 the liberation is being damaged by (local) people who are not obeying the law, are thieves, child rapists and too lazy to plough the fields.“

Most interestingly, King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zulu,   claimed that Political leaders were afraid to voice out their honest opinion about foreigners in South Africa or tell South Africans the truth, simply because these politicians were afraid of losing elections.

The important – and indeed, worrisome –   questions   are: As a country operating a constitutional democracy in which everyone is accountable, was King Goodwill Zwelithini`s speech inflammable? If yes, was it the cause of the audacious xenophobic attacks against foreigners, which resulted in the killings of innocent individuals in South Africa? Must King Goodwill Zwelithini be legally held responsible for his speech and its repercussions ““ just like King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo was held accountable for his acts? Was King Goodwill Zwelithini used by some politicians to address the sensitive issue (immigration) they were afraid or hypocritical to discuss openly? Did King Goodwill Zwelithini believe he was “above“ (or would be protected by) the law that has effectively condemned King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo actions and sent him to prison? If King Goodwill Zwelithini was not directly responsible for the audacious xenophobic deaths in South Africa, how many of those who directed or participated in those impunity killings (including those who bragged on the videos while inciting the infamous attacks) have been brought to book ““ just like King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo? With the latest developments, is South Africa really “a constitutional democracy in which everyone is accountable and where the most vulnerable are entitled to protection““¦ or is it yet another one country with two different laws?”
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