'Misinterpreted' Zulu king not guilty of promoting hatred – SAHRC

2016-09-30 12:28
King Goodwill Zwelithini (Amanda Khoza, News24)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Johannesburg – The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Friday said it did not believe that King Goodwill Zwelithini was guilty of promoting or propagating hatred against migrants on March 15, 2015, during a speech in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal.

The SAHRC transcribed the speech given in isiZulu by the king that upset a lot of people and led to over 30 complaints lodged against him at the SAHRC. These complaints were led by the African Diaspora Forum.

The commission said that a direct translation of Zwelithini's speech from isiZulu to English might have led to misinterpretations.

According to the commission, there was no evidence that there was a causal link between the words uttered by Zwelithini and the violent attacks on migrants in Isipingo and nearby areas that started on March 30, 2015.

Zwelithini had previously asked the SAHRC to investigate whether the media had misrepresented his speech.

Peace Accord

Because this didn't fall completely within its jurisdiction, the SAHRC said that the king's misgivings would be referred to relevant parties for investigation, such as the BCCSA, Press Ombudsman and Icasa.

The commission did, however, find that Zwelithini's speech could be reasonably construed to demonstrate a clear intention to be hurtful with regards to statements which contributed to the serious psychological and emotional harm experienced by migrants.

It also found that his speech could be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to be harmful, adding that it could perpetuate discrimination against, and marginalisation of, migrants.

The commission recommended that Zwelithini continue efforts at reconciling South Africans and migrants in KwaZulu-Natal and that he continue with his own proposed plan to address allegations of xenophobia levelled against him in the media.

It also said he should continue with his promise to see that a Peace Accord, which he committed to help draft, was formally signed and publicised.

The king has 60 days to present the SAHRC with a report on his implementation of the recommendations and the results thereof.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  durban  |  xenophobia

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