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While most South Africans have been catching their breath over the holiday season, the nation’s cornerstone document has been subjected to a test case sure to greatly influence its future path. The country’s much admired Constitution, the rulebook which trumps all other laws, is primarily designed to protect the human rights of every citizen. It is the shield against excessive power wielded by those who control the levels of State and, indeed, traditional rulers. The Constitution, which treats each South African equally, is anathema to those who struggle to absorb the realities of modern society. Especially those beneficiaries of the lottery of the womb, the kings who rule much of rural SA – where their word is law and punishment for breaking it severe. Among their number is Dalindyebo, King of the AbaThembu, whose actions have created a critical test case for the young democracy. His dispensing of justice in the traditional manner broke numerous laws enshrined in the Constitution and after a lengthy process, has landed him with a 12 year jail sentence. Dalindyebo’s defence is that as King, he owns his subjects and has the right to beat or even kill those who do not obey his wishes. Apart from the obvious, this case also holds huge political consequences. The rural area provides the bedrock for the ruling ANC which courts the traditional rulers to ensure the support of their subjects in elections. Many of these people chafe under such Feudal conditions. Sending Dalidyebo to jail will send a message sure to reverberate far beyond the hills of the Eastern Cape. – Alec Hogg
By Lizeka Tandwa
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.