Jailed South African king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has been admitted to hospital after falling ill due to a hunger strike. Dalindyebo was admitted to the St Dominic’s hospital in East London after embarking on a hunger strike for almost a week.
Economic Freedom Front (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, who led a delegation to visit the king in hospital, said Dalindyebo was in “good spirits” after the visit.
“The hunger strike started on Sunday and he said he was waiting for this type of visit. Only now is he going to start eating.”
Malema along with members of the EFF executive had met with the king and advised him to start eating again.
Correctional Services spokesperson Manelisi Wolela confirmed Dalindyebo had been admitted to hospital on Friday but declined to comment on the reason why.
“The nature of sickness of an offender is a private matter and never published,” Wolela had said.
Malema said although Dalindyebo seemed to be in good spirits, the fact that he was behind bars was humiliating.
“We want to put on record that we have never seen such humiliation… The king is in good spirits but it is really painful to see the ANC government doing what they are doing to this man.
“We are not saying he must not pay…but we are talking about a King here,” the fiery opposition politician said.
Malema called on the ruling party, ANC, to reconsider its decision and said putting Dalindyebo under house arrest may have been a better option.
“If these people are given special treatment before being involved in any issue like this, even when they get arrested, they are royal blood and therefore they have to be treated as such,” he said.
Dalindyebo handed himself over at the Mthatha Correctional Centre last Wednesday after unsuccessfully trying several legal avenues to avoid jail.
The following day on December 31 he was moved to the East London Maximum Correctional Centre.
The king reportedly refused to eat samp, the food of the ordinary people, saying that he is a king.