Zwelithini's advisers to investigate xenophobia complaints before responding

2015-05-20 15:41
King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

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Durban - King Goodwill Zwelithini’s advisers will investigate the “genuineness" and "fairness” of the complaints made against him before responding, said Judge Jerome Ngwenya on Wednesday.

The SA Human Rights Commission met Zwelithini’s advisers in Durban on Tuesday to discuss complaints made about a speech the king delivered during a moral regeneration event in Pongola in March.

Judge Jerome Ngwenya, who is leading the team of advisers, said: “We are happy with the manner in which the commission has handled the matter so far.

"What we are going to do on our side is look at the genuineness and the fairness of the complaints before responding because we have picked up that some complaints are derogatory and insulting to the king.

“We are wary of such things because some of the people who complained were not present when the statements were made, but they were quick to jump on the bandwagon after reading newspapers and hearing it on the radio.”

Complaints about comments

He said the meeting was the first official one with the commission.

“Until recently we had heard that there had been complaints about the king’s comments. This was the first official meeting with the commission where they presented the statements to us.

“We have agreed to respond to the statements, following that they can tell us if they need further evidence or input from us.”

Ngwenya said the process of formulating a response would include going through each complaint.

“After going through each statement we are going to formulate a summary response. We won’t be responding to each statement individually because some of the complaints are the same,” said Ngwenya.  

The commission's advocate, Lawrence Mushwana, and commissioner Lindiwe Mokate chaired Tuesday’s consultation.

The commission’s spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, said: “There was nothing unusual about the meeting. It is the process of every investigation. We meet with the complainants and the respondents to gather further evidence and to seek clarity on the matter.”

Investigation in final stages

Mangena said the commission had received 28 complaints, most relating to the alleged utterances made by the king.

“The investigation is in its final stages and we are about to release our preliminary findings. We think we will release the findings by mid-June.”

Mangena said the king has been co-operating with the investigation.

“[The king's advisers] have promised that we will have their full co-operation with any binding issues that we may arrive at and they have also promised to respond to the complaints.

“We in turn have promised to give them time to formulate a response. This will also give us time to go through the investigation which forms part of a bigger investigation by the commission into the root cause of the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.”

Mangena said the commission had also received complaints against President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward.

“Unfortunately I don’t have all the details of that investigation because we are still dealing with the king’s investigation but we have received complaints against Edward Zuma.”

Read more on:    sahrc  |  goodwill zwelithini  |  durban  |  xenophobia

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