Zulu King cleared of inciting violence

2015-12-02 12:53
King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

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Pietermaritzburg - A preliminary report has absolved Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini of ­inciting violence against foreign ­nations.

The king had been the subject of investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for the remarks he made in Pongola in March this year that foreign nationals should pack their belongings and go back to their countries.

The commission said it had received 31 different complaints in the months between April and June 2015.

The African Diaspora Forum, ­Lawyers for Human Rights and 29 individuals had complained to the commission that the utterances made by the king amounted to hate speech against foreign nationals.

They also linked the utterances to the subsequent violent attacks against foreigners which broke out two weeks after the king’s speech.

The king had made the utterances during a moral regeneration event in Pongola northern KwaZulu-Natal in March this year.

The preliminary report found only that his remarks could be construed to be hurtful and violated the dignity of foreigners in South Africa. It could not have been reasonably construed as inciting harm or violence against foreign nationals, the commission said. The king has been ordered to indicate to the commission within 30 days of the final report whether he agrees to apologise publicly and to submit to a private mediated settlement of the dispute, presided over by the commission.

During the commission’s investigation to find a full recording of the King’s speech, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) whose identity was known to the commission made “unsolicited” contact with the commission and provided what it asserted to be a full audio-recording of the speech, a transcribed version in Zulu and a sworn translated version into English. Attempts to get hold of the Royal Household Trust yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.

African Diaspora Forum chairperson Marc Gbaffou said they would comment today after studying the report.

Read more on:    goodwill zwelithini  |  pietermaritzburg

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