South Africa: Justice Minister Submits King Dalindyebo's Pardon Application

Justice Minister Michael Masutha has finalised and submitted AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's pardon application to the Presidency for consideration.

"King Dalindyebo's pardon application has been finalised with recommendations by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and thereafter formally submitted to the Presidency for the President to exercise his prerogative on the matter," the Ministry said on Tuesday.

Dalindyebo is currently serving a 12-year sentence in prison for arson, assault, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

In South Africa, the power of the President to pardon or reprieve offenders and remit any fines, penalties or forfeitures flows directly from section 84(2) j) of the Constitution and it is therefore regarded as a presidential prerogative.

While the President makes the ultimate decision in terms of whether a pardon is granted or not, the administration of pardon applications is assigned to the Justice and Correctional Services Minister, as the Cabinet member responsible for the administration of Justice.

According to the Justice Ministry, the initial application for a pardon of King Dalindyebo was made by the Congress of Traditional Leaders (Contralesa) in January 2016.

King Dalindyebo has himself also subsequently made an application for a pardon.

In terms of the process, the application was submitted to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for processing and to Minister Michael Masutha to make a recommendation to the President whether to grant a pardon or not.

"The Minister sought the advice of external legal counsel on the application, including facilitation of interaction with the victims who expressed their views on the pardon. One of the considerations in a pardon application is the views of the victims of the crime.

"For that reason, counsel also engaged with the King in respect of facilitating victim-offender engagement in line with our restorative justice approach," said the Ministry.

The Justice Department highlighted that there are no specific timelines prescribed in law for when the President may make his decision on whether to grant the pardon to the King or not. The prerogative rests with the President.

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