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SAHRC to rule on Zulu King's 'xenophobic remarks'

The commission visited the king at his palace after meeting with the complainants.

FILE: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it will rule on whether Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini incited xenophobic violence next month.

The commission visited the king at his palace on Tuesday after meeting with the people who laid the complaint against him last week.

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.

Zwelithini is accused of sparking a wave of xenophobic attacks after saying foreigners should leave the country.

But the king maintains he was misquoted.

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

ZWELITHINI DENIES INCITING VIOLENCE

Last month, Zwelithini called for peace between the Zulu nation and foreigners, saying his subjects should be the shield of foreigners.

He added that better education is needed to improve the relationship between communities.

His speech was met with cheers from the crowd and people who were booing foreign ambassadors sat and listened to him quietly.

BUTHELEZI DEFENDS ZULU KING

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi also told the crowd that Zwelithini was being used as an excuse for criminals to carry out attacks.

Buthelezi said irrespective of who sparked the attacks, they needed to be stopped.

"Collectively reach out to foreign nationals in our midst, offering assistance and support. Our nation needs to be seen cleaning up this mess, we need to be seen restoring order."

Buthelezi told the thousands of people that chasing foreigners out of South Africa would not solve the country's problems as they are embedded in society.

The IFP leader and chief condemned criminals who he said capitalised on the media, misinterpreting the comments.

Buthelezi said it is all part of the plan by Zulu kingdom's enemies to discredit the king.

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