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‘No causal link between Zulu king’s speech & xenophobic attacks’

The SAHRC has found that King Goodwill Zwelithini’s comments on migrants were not hate speech.

FILE: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says it's found no causal link between Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini's comments about foreign nationals and last year's xenophobic attacks, in which seven people were killed and thousands others displaced.

The SAHRC has confirmed that in his address to a crowd in KwaZulu-Natal last year, the king suggested that migrants were in the country to steal jobs and described their presence as a social ill.



The comments sparked outrage, with some accusing him of fuelling attacks on foreign nationals.

After reviewing the king's speech, meeting with his legal representatives and acquiring help from an expert in the Zulu culture and language, the SAHRC is now clear on what exactly the king said in his Pangola address.

The SAHRC's chair Lawrance Mushwana says, "He suggested that migrants want to take the inheritance that's due to South Africans.

"He stated that immigrants are in South Africa to steal the wealth of the nation and suggested that they may be criminals. He unequivocally called upon executive authorities to order all foreign nationals to leave the country."

The SAHRC has now given the Zulu king 60 days to implement its recommendations, which include meeting with ambassadors from countries affected by the xenophobic violence and signing a peace accord.

Mushwana says finding that the king violated the rights of foreign nations was hard enough.

"You must not undermine his authority. The fact that we've said 'he's violated', that in itself is a big step."

King Zwelithini must now go and reconcile with foreign nationals and migrants in KZN and instruct the office of the premier in the province to organise a meeting between him and ambassadors of the affected African countries.

The SAHRC concedes that the king's statements reinforced stereotypes that potentially caused the marginalisation and the exclusion of foreign nationals.



However, it says while the comments were hurtful and harmful they did not amount to hate speech.