Arrive Alive was unaware of AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's dagga-smoking habits when they made him the ambassador for their campaign in his municipality in 2011, the road safety organisation said on Sunday.
Spokesperson Tshepo Machaea said they only became aware of Dalindyebo's dagga-smoking a year after he started working with them. Machaea said the king's habit did not have a negative effect on the campaign.
"It does not change anything. We understand that no one is above the law, but we are concentrating on the positive that he is bringing to the campaign because he is very vocal about speaking about drinking and driving."
Dalindyebo's appointment for the ambassadorship was nothing formal.
Machaea said the king approached officials and said he wanted to part of their road awareness campaigns. "He doesn't have any specific duties," said Machaea.
Dalindyebo, who is former president Nelson Mandela's nephew, last year left his uncle's political party to join the opposition Democratic Alliance.
He reportedly said the ANC had distorted the anti-apartheid icon's legacy and behaved arrogantly. He said he would stop smoking dagga the day President Jacob Zuma stopped being corrupt.
In 2009, Dalindyebo was convicted of 10 crimes including culpable homicide, arson and kidnapping, committed on his farm between June 1995 and January 1996.
He is appealing the convictions. – Sapa