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Zulu king denies triggering South Africa attacks

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southafrica xenophobiaZulu king Goodwill Zwelithini on Monday denied whipping up xenophobic hatred in South Africa after he was accused of triggering violence that has left at least seven people dead and forced thousands from their homes.

Zwelithini had made an angry speech last month blaming immigrants for rising crime and saying they must leave the country, in an outburst seen as encouraging the spate of attacks on Zimbabweans, Somalians, Malawians and other foreigners.

But he told a tribal gathering of several thousand Zulus in the port city of Durban that he had been misrepresented.

“My speech… was directed at the police, calling for stricter law enforcement, but that was never reported,” he said.

“The public was instead given another side of my speech, which had been twisted and misrepresented.

“This violence directed at our brothers and sister is shameful.”

South African authorities have struggled to contain mobs in the economic capital Johannesburg and Durban who were hunting down foreigners.

At least seven people have been killed and 307 suspects arrested in the worst ethnic violence since 2008, when 62 people were killed mainly in Johannesburg’s townships.

Numbering 12 million people, the Zulus are the largest ethnic group in South Africa and Zwelithini, their traditional leader, retains great influence over his subjects.

Wearing a suit and tie rather than his royal animal-skin dress, he told the audience that he had never called on his people to attack foreigners.

“Had I said that, this country would be in ashes,” he said to loud cheers.

Many in the stadium, which was built for 2010 football World Cup, booed when foreign dignitaries were introduced and during multi-faith prayers.

Violence has fallen in recent days in Johannesburg and Durban, but the rioting and looting have exposed deep tensions between South Africans and immigrants from across the continent.

Immigrants are often the focus for anger among locals hit by a chronic job shortage and the limited progress made by many poor blacks since white-minority rule ended in 1994.

President Jacob Zuma has moved to counter claims he was ignoring the attacks, which provoked outrage from neighbouring countries whose citizens have been targeted.

“Millions of South Africans condemn these atrocious killings and abhor xenophobia and all related intolerances,” he said in a statement released on Monday.

“Together we must work harder to root out violence and hatred in our society.”

Several thousand immigrants have been forced from their homes and are staying in camps, while Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have organised for some worried citizens to return home.


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7 Comments
  • Adolf

    Where is AU, and Amnesty international, Where is the UN??????

    • Julius Joel

      It is South Africa where the whites hope to increase their strength in number. Planes loaded with whites from Europe and America as well as Asian and Australian countries send hundreds of their nationals to South Africa every day. Since their nationals are not affected Amnesty International is unconcerned. The international press – BBC, reautiers, CNET, Àljazeera, AFP and others are all dominated by reporters from South Africa or with sympathy for South Africa.Since the attack is on Africans nobody cares.Obama has said nothing, Bishop Desmond Tutu has said nothing, so also is the British prime minister. The Zulus love the whites but hate fellow black Africans even from their own country The chairperson of AU commission is Zulu ànd former wife of President Zuma. She is not concerned because it is her people. What can make South African whites concerned is if Nigeria ask that all South African businesses in Nigeria should be closed.

      • Isaia

        Did black South Africans go to Nigeria and massacre 13000 innocent civilians in just 2 years or are they taking part in your inter-tribal wars among the Fulanis and Agos? Did we kill nearly half a million Tutsis in Rwanda or over a million people in DRC? Who is sending Nigerians and other Africans on their way to Europe only to drown in the Mediterranean Sea in their hundreds? So please stop vilifying the entire blacks of SA…55 millions did not attack and kill 4 foreigners in the past few days, and by the ways the other 3 who died were indigenous south Africans. So who are u to call us barbarians? The British gave u independence 55 years ago and what do u have to show for it? Now u r risking the deadly Sahara desert and the sea just to go back to ur colonial master and beg for jobs…hmmmm so much for the kettle to call the pot BLACK

      • Isaia

        U can’t blame the BBC and aljazeera for not broadcasting the violence in South Africa at the time because they were busy showing Nigerians and other African migrants drowning in the Italian coast because they were running away from poverty and corruption of your government

  • Ongweh Obamedo

    There is no risk of this xenophobic hysteria spreading to Europe and affecting their lives, if at all it will benefit them so they can kill africans there as well so the UN and the western world are not bothered. They are happy to see the Africans doing a good job of destroying themselves

  • kaybaba

    SHAME ON THE ENTIRE SOUTH AFRICA. ZULU KING AND ITS PEOPLE. THE INCIDENT IS A SHOW OF HOW BACKWARD YOU ZULUS ARE AND I THINK THE WHITE KILLING YOU ON YOUR OWN SOIL ARE JUSTIFIED. THAT ZULU KING SHOULD BE TRIED AND KILLERS SHOULD BE KILLED TOO. ZULUS ARE ANIMALS.

    • Howard David

      ZULU IS AN ANIMAL