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SAHRC: Zwelithini forthcoming in hate speech probe

Last month's xenophobic attacks were largely blamed on comments made by the Zulu king.

FILE: A screengrab picture of Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday said Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been forthcoming and helpful with its investigation into hate speech claims against him.

The deadly xenophobic violence that plagued parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg last month have largely been blamed on comments made by Zwelithini in which he said foreigners must pack their bags and leave the country.

The Zulu King was widely criticised for his comments.

However, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko downplayed Zwelithini's remarks, saying he had been misquoted.

Nhleko said, "If you're in the country illegally, effectively you need to be deported. That's essentially the long and short of what the King said. I then don't understand why the whole thing was turned around."

Zwelithini insists his remarks was taken out of context and misinterpreted.

The commission's Isaac Mangena said, "We have already gathered information including evidence, including recordings from the kind and we are currently busy with the king and his office has been very cooperative on this matter."