Zulu king calls for peace in S’Africa after violence
Addressing about 6,000 people at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, at a gathering, or imbizo, for peace, Zwelithini denied playing a role in sparking the violence against foreigners, but said he was open to an investigation from the Human Rights Commission over comments made in late last month.
The latest wave of xenophobic violence that began on March 30 in Durban, has been largely pinned on comments made by Zwelithini.
The Zulu king was accused of saying that foreigners needed to pack their bags and leave the country.
“People took what I said out of context. This is ludicrous and laughable,” Zwelithini said yesterday. “Many people have died. I have never killed anyone. I don’t know why I am being accused.”
Adding that all foreigners needed to be made secure, Zwelithini said: “The dignity of the Zulu people must be restored. There could be a third force behind this violence.”
At least, eight people have been killed and more than 1,000 displaced as mobs attacked foreign-owned stores, looting and destroying property in Durban, and then in townships in and around Johannesburg.
Also speaking at the event, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said: “We are here today to support the king’s call for peace.
“We also thank the government for what it has done to quell the violence. “ The event started off badly when crowds booed religious leaders at the top of the programme. According to South Africa’s News24, crowds also jeered the international guests at the event. “We need to behave in front of the king and show respect. We need to listen carefully as leaders speak today,” Economic and Tourism Minister, Mike Mabuyakhulu, said to the crowd.