The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders has welcomed the release of the AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo from prison.

The king was imprisoned in December 2015 after the High Court in the Eastern Cape sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment. He was sentenced for seven counts of kidnapping, three of assault, three of arson, and one of defeating the ends of justice.

Chairperson of the House Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana says this is an early Christmas gift for them.

“We are indeed excited and very happy that his majesty is now back at home and we want to thank the president of the republic and the people of South Africa to us it is really a Christmas present that we will never forget from 2015 we have been fighting that our king should have been there.”

The king’s release comes after Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced last Monday that he had been granted a special remission of sentence following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s confirmation. This is usually granted to specific categories of sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees.

The remission means that the king’s sentence has been reduced by 12 months under certain conditions.

Free King Dalindyebo campaign committee member King Mlamli Ndamase says they are pleasantly surprised.

“Indeed this comes as a surprise because we have been communicating with the office of the President and at some stage, we could not link with them. In fact, I voluntarily invited the kings and requested them that let us stand up and negotiate with the President for the release of the king as their colleague. We are still going to approach the President to convert this parole to a presidential pardon which would have no conditions because now it seems as if the king is still in jail.”