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Zulu king, SAHRC to discuss xenophobia complaints

The monarch is accused of inciting xenophobic violence.

FILE: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has arrived at the royal palace of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to discuss a complaint of incitement of xenophobic violence against the monarch.

An official of the South African National Defence Union laid a charge of hate speech against Zwelithini in April, saying he incited last month's xenophobic violence through controversial remarks he made about foreigners.

Zwelithini has denied that he caused the attacks that led to seven people being killed and has said he was willing to meet with the SAHRC and any other authority.

The commission's Isaac Mangena said, "Today we are meeting with the king or his delegation where we basically will try to find further information that will allow us to come to a finding."

The commission states that Zwelithini had been forthcoming and helpful with its investigation into hate speech claims against him.

LISTEN: The social implications of xenophobic violence

Earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament the army would remain on the ground until the end of June in the wake of xenophobic violence in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were deployed almost two weeks ago to hot spots after immigrants in two provinces came under attack from locals.

Many fled their homes and sought shelter at temporary camps during scenes reminiscent of the xenophobic violence that gripped the country in 2008.

Zuma notified Parliament of the decision to send in the army in a letter addressed to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on 23 April.

He said 338 members of the SANDF will assist police to maintain law and order in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and any other area as the need arose.

And added the soldiers would be on the ground until the 30 June, at an estimated cost of more than R4,2 million.