Buthelezi cheered at anti-xenophobia imbizo

2015-04-20 15:47
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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WATCH: Crowds gather for King Goodwill Zwelithini's imbizo against xenophobia

2015-04-20 11:35

Watch as crowds gather for King Goodwill Zwelithini's imbizo against xenophobia at Moses Mabhida stadium. About 10 000 people are expected to attend. WATCH

Durban - IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi received loud cheers from the crowd as he took to the podium to welcome Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini at an anti-xenophobia imbizo in Durban on Monday.

Buthelezi said he would address the masses in English because he did not want to be misquoted.

"We want to thank our king for having the wisdom to hold this imbizo.

"A lot has been said in the media about me and the king and I want to say... It is right that we hear from our king.

"We are gathered here in a time of crisis. When we sang the national anthem we sang Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, not South Africa...," he told the crowd.

'We are ashamed'

"My fellow Zulus, we are ashamed... But today as it happens, from many quarters the finger of blame has [been pointed to] the king," he said referring to reported comments made by the king in Pongola last month about foreign nationals.

"Our African brothers and sister are welcome in our home. His majesty said criminals are not welcome.

"Now the king has been used by criminals...," Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi went on to explain what Zwelithini had meant by his comments.

"This is shameful. We as Amakhosi have an undeniable responsibility to stop the violence despite what started the flame.

"We need to send a clear message of where we stand and what we expect them to do. Chasing out other nations will not solve our problems, they have their own problems in their countries," he said.

Buthelezi said foreign nationals wanted to come to South Africa because there was freedom.

He said the image of the Zulus had been tarnished.

"We cannot remain silent."

While Buthelezi was speaking someone in the crowd shouted "Mabahambe! They must go!"

The crowd attending the imbizo at the Moses Mabhida stadium continued to boo and jeer as speakers took to the podium to address them earlier on Monday.

'Bad image'

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said: "The past couple of days, we have seen violence in our communities to a point where people have lost their lives.

"We are here today to support the king's call for peace."

He thanked the government for the work it had done to quell the violence.

The provincial government had met with Zwelithini, the business community and NGOs to try correct the "bad image" that had been portrayed to the international community.

"What is important for us, is to calm down and focus on solutions that will take our country forward," he said.

"Pictures that have been published in the media are disturbing. We are here to say that the government has everything under control. We know that safety is priority right now. We want you to know that South Africans come first.

"If there are problems at home let us not kill, destroy property or take the law into our own hands. Let's stand together and use our democracy to get through this. Government's doors are always open. You are always welcome to come and talk to us, whether it's good or bad. We don't want bloodshed," said Mchunu.

He thanked the king for taking the time to call the imbizo.


eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo urged the crowd to respect the event.

"We urge for tolerance among one another. We need peace because we are one," he said.

"That will help us because the King has come to address us. Please respect this event, we have to show respect to our visitors."

Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders iNkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza said: "We want to thank the king for always calling for calm in the province. "We are here as Amakhosi to listen to what you want us to hear for the sake of peace so that we can stop this bloodshed," he said.

"We are here to listen to the king, if he says all weapons down, that is what we are going to do. We want the government to thoroughly investigate why this has happened. We know that poverty and the lack of jobs is part of the problem but we need to check where we have gone wrong and fix things.

"We respect the king. Weapons down our people," said Chiliza.

Read more on:    king goodwill zwelethini  |  mangosutho buthelezi  |  durban  |  xenophobia

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