JOHANNESBURG – A tribal king in South Africa faces lengthy jail time after being convicted of arson, kidnapping and other crimes in a case that highlighted tension between sovereignty of the state and traditional authority structures.
Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, king of South Africa's Thembu people, appeared to have few legal options after the justice minister on Tuesday rejected a petition to reopen the case.
Dalindyebo, currently out on bail, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2009, but the punishment was reduced to 12 years after a manslaughter conviction was rejected on appeal.
Dalindyebo is a flamboyant figure who once threatened to secede from South Africa, an announcement widely viewed as outlandish.
The king was prosecuted for burning homes and other violence against some of his subjects in the 1990s.