AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who is currently in prison, has expressed his shock at the outcomes of the ANC Eastern Cape provincial general council which failed to elect a woman as a running mate for ANC presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa.
In an open letter to the media, his spokesperson and brother Prince Mthunzi Ngonyama said Dalindyebo had expected Lindiwe Sisulu to emerge as Ramaphosa's nominated running mate in the Eastern Cape, given that the province is her home.
"To everybody's surprise, including his Majesty King Dalindyebo's, two males, Zweli Mkhize and David Mabuza, took the lead in the deputy president position," the letter reads.
Ngonyama said "one" would have thought that the people of the Eastern Cape would have liked to see an experienced woman from the Eastern Cape such as Sisulu in the Presidency.
He goes on to list Sisulu's attributes, including what he said was her inquiring mind on significant matters, not pedestrian matters and gossip. "Therefore, for some, this is somebody who will be difficult to work with. We are not saying she is perfect, but she is a highly principled woman. We are told her campaign suffered a lot because of her high ethical standards of refusing dark money, maybe that is why she is viewed as suddenly arrogant in some quarters." Sisulu 'painted as arrogant, entitled royalty'
Ngonyama said he believed that the ANC in the Eastern Cape was punishing Sisulu for publicly criticising secretary-general Gwede Mantashe when she questioned his struggle credentials and partly blamed him for the divisions in the party.
"One can conclude that there was a general feeling that she must be taught a painful lesson, she was painted as arrogant, entitled royalty while she was only standing up for her own views. Perhaps others still believe that as a woman she should have been more submissive and remain silent even if she felt something needed to be corrected," he said.
Dalindyebo is serving a 12-year sentence after unsuccessfully trying several legal avenues to avoid jail.
In 2009, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, arson and kidnapping.
He was granted bail pending the outcome of his appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. In October last year, the court set aside his culpable homicide conviction and reduced his sentence to 12 years.
His crimes involved treatment he meted out to some of his subjects in 1995 and 1996. His son Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo is currently holding the reigns as the regent king.
Azenathi has pronounced on Ramaphosa as his preferred candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma.