King Zwelithini calls imbizo against xenophobia

2015-04-17 11:05

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King Goodwill Zwelithini has called an imbizo on Monday in response to pressure that he add his voice to moves to bring an end to xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu announced this morning that the monarch, whose comments that foreigners should pack up and go back home are seen as having sparked the violence, had informed government last night of his intention to call the mass meeting.

Mchunu said the imbizo, which would be attended by the province’s traditional leaders, had come after several discussions with the monarch, who last weekend had continued to claim he had been misquoted, some two weeks into the violence.

King Zwelithini’s initial statement, made at a moral regeneration rally in Pongola, was followed by the first wave of attacks at Isipingo, south of Durban.

The province’s cooperative governance and traditional affairs ministry would assist with staging the imbizo, likely to be held at Currie’s Fountain Stadium.

In the meantime, the monarch was looking at going live on radio and television to call for calm.

Mchunu said the imbizo would remove any opportunity for those who wanted to carry out attacks on foreigners using the excuse of the monarch’s comments.

The about-turn by King Zwelithini comes after a series of meetings with provincial and national government and increasing pressure from the religious sector and civil society that he play a personal role in calling for calm.

Mchunu said the proposal around the imbizo had first been discussed at a meeting between the king and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Monday night.

Durban and surrounding areas were quiet this morning, with no violence reported overnight according to SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker.

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