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By Malibongwe Dayimani

Premium Journalist

Keep the Merc: EFF not taking back AbaThembu king’s R1.8m ride after ANC rally

The Kingdom and EFF confirmed King Dalindyebo was still an EFF loyalist despite seen partying with ANC strongman Oscar Mabuyane and his comrades.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) won’t be taking back the luxurious R1.8 million Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV it gifted AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo in 2021 following his Friday appearance at an ANC rally which took everyone by surprise.

The party confirmed this to The Citizen on Saturday, emphasising that the car was a gift, not a “bribe” in exchange for the king’s support.

EFF loyalist but AbaThembu king celebrates 60th with ANC

On Friday, the monarch – draped in ANC colours – set the internet ablaze when he was seen celebrating his 60th birthday with African National Congress (ANC) heavyweights at the party’s Siyanqoba rally in the Chris Hani district.

The celebratory scenes triggered confusion and much speculation over the political alliance of Dalindyebo who is known for being a staunch supporter of the EFF and a close friend of its leader Julius Malema.

ALSO READ: EFF gifts King Dalindyebo with brand new Mercedes-Benz SUV, Malema says it’s no bribe

On 13 November 2021, Malema personally handed Dalindyebo the expensive car at a glitzy ceremony held at his Nkululekweni palace after he helped out with the EFF campaign ahead of the 1 November 2021 municipal elections.   

Dalindyebo a devoted EFF supporter

Dalindyebo, a devoted EFF backer, even attended the party’s 10th birthday celebrations at the FNB stadium and has attended Malema’s rifle trial in East London on several occasions to give moral support.

However, to everyone’s surprise, the AbaThembu king danced, ate and drank with Eastern Cape ANC chairman Oscar Mabuyane, ANC Women’s League president Sisisi Tolashe, the ANC’s Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and other leaders on Friday, chanting ANC slogans.

READ: EFF ‘humbled’ by King Dalinyebo’s support for Malema in firearm case

His cake and champagne were brought to the stage where leaders toasted the king on his birthday.  

Speaking at the event, the birthday boy told the spirited crowd that he would never abandon the ANC and reminded the crowd of the party’s strong ties with his ancestors.

While many were convinced the king had dumped EFF on the eve of the 2024 general elections on 29 May, both the Kingdom and EFF rubbished the suggestion adding that Dalindyebo was still an EFF supporter.

EFF spokesperson Snawo Thambo said it was Dalindyebo’s royal duty to grace events happening under the jurisdiction of his Kingdom.

READ: AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo assault case resumes

The king can keep the Merc

“The EFF never barred the AbaThembu king from attending political events and we have no right to. He is a king of a nation. We have no indication that King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo has left the EFF. I don’t know where everyone got that information,” said Thambo.

While the question on everyone’s mind was whether the EFF would demand the car back, Thambo answered:

It’s a stupid question. It was a gift to honour a king, not a bribe.

Dalindyebo’s spokesperson, Prince Mthunzi Ngonyama, said the king honoured an invitation from the Mabuyane to grace the ANC rally where he was thrown a surprise birthday celebration.

Ngonyama added that the monarch was still a supporter of EFF.

“His Majesty embraces all political leaders as long they don’t have a hidden agenda to end the existence of the monarch’s authority or claim superiority over kings, as that will be an unholy distortion of African history,” said Ngonyama in a statement.

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