Mandela’s tribal king defects from ruling ANC party

Johannesburg. The king of Nelson Mandela’s Thembu tribe defected from ANC to join the Democratic Alliance yesterday, days after launching a fierce attack on President Zuma.
King of Nelson Mandela’s Thembu tribe defected from ANC to join the Democratic Alliance yesterday. Net photo.
King of Nelson Mandela’s Thembu tribe defected from ANC to join the Democratic Alliance yesterday. Net photo.

Johannesburg. The king of Nelson Mandela’s Thembu tribe defected from ANC to join the Democratic Alliance yesterday, days after launching a fierce attack on President Zuma.

King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who rules over Mr Mandela’s tribe in the Eastern Cape Province, was photographed holding a DA membership card in a very public snub to the ruling party.

Last week Dalindyebo — no stranger to controversy — called President Zuma a parasite, accusing him of being in the pocket of corrupt individuals.

Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesman Mmusi Maimane said although they do not agree with some of the king’s statements “anyone is free to join the DA”.

The king has spoken about his regular use of cannabis and has been charged with manslaughter, arson, assault and kidnapping.

“We believe that he represents an important component of society in the Eastern Cape,” said Mr Maimane.

The predominantly white party which runs the Western Cape Province is trying to boost its profile in black areas ahead of the 2014 elections.

Dalindyebo was visited at his palace by DA regional leader Athol Trollip, after he expressed a desire to join the party.

Tribal chiefs in South Africa are seen as crucial for tapping the rural electorate, which bears the brunt of poverty and lack of services.

The controversial king claimed joining the party would be a gift to the ailing Mr Mandela, whom he has visited in hospital.

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