Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini wants the media in South Africa to subject itself to an investigation by the Human Rights Commission for what he said was inciting xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal.
The king was addressing an imbizo on xenophobia at the Moses Mabhida Stadium where more than 3,000 people attended.
Zwelithini was recently quoted in the media saying all foreigners must pack their belongings and leave the country, but the Zulu monarch has reiterated that his remarks were taken out of context.
“There are those who say I have committed a crime, but I don’t know which crime I’ve committed because I haven’t killed anybody.”
Shortly after he was quoted saying foreigners should leave, clashes erupted between locals and foreigners in Mahatma Gandhi Road, in Durban’s city centre.
Violence spread from KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg last week and on Saturday, Emmanuel Sithole – a Mozambican man – was stabbed to death by locals in Alexandra.
Three people have been arrested and are due to appear in court on Tuesday.
Sithole is the seventh victim of the latest flare up of xenophobic attacks.
The king said he was also willing to cooperate with any investigation.
African religion expert Dr Velaphi Mkhize from the Umsamo African Institute said the king’s speech revealed that he still felt he was being unfairly blamed for the xenophobic violence.
Mkhize said the king made a direct request to the Human Rights Commission to investigate the media.
Zwelithini has also called on the media to release a full transcript of his earlier speech and said this would exonerate him of any blame.
ZULU KING DENIES INCITING VIOLENCE
The Zulu king denied he incited any xenophobic violence and while his call for peace between foreign and local communities had been welcomed by foreigners in Durban’s Point district, some remained sceptical.
They said he should admit he caused the violence.
The king started his speech by saying we are all African and relayed the story of ethnic violence in Rwanda, which left thousands dead.
He said he didn’t want the same to happen in South Africa.
Zwelithini called for peace between the Zulu nation and foreigners, insisting his subjects should be the ‘shield of foreigners’.
He added that better education was 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.
He said he would co-operate with an investigation by the Human Rights Commission into his comments, which would be discussed at a moral regeneration rally in KwaZulu-Natal.