The South African Human Rights Commission has acquitted King Goodwill Zwelithini of hate speech allegations levelled against him in March 2015.
The commission admitted that while the King’s comments were hurtful and harmful; they had no causal link or evidence with the xenophobia attacks, which claimed the lives of seven people.
The SAHRC related this information on Friday when it released its belated findings; after it finalized the much-anticipated report into the 31 complaints” against the Zulu king.
The commission had transcribed the speech – given in isiZulu into English and found that a direct translation of Zwelithini’s speech from isiZulu to English might have led to misinterpretations.
SAHRC Clears King Goodwill Zwelithini
Advocate Lawrance Mushwana, who spoke on behalf of the human right commission said: “Distrust of the responder’s defence was that the utterances on the day in question were misconstrued; and taken out of context by the media and that therefore he is not guilty of hate speech as it was alleged at the time.”
The 2015 Xenophobic violence that erupted in KZN was largely blamed on the king; after he ordered foreigners to pack their bags and leave the country during a speech in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal. Following the comments, 31 complaints; led by the African Diaspora Forum were lodged against the king.
However, King Goodwill Zwelithini stood his ground; maintaining that his comments were misinterpreted and taken out of context by the media.
Though acquitted, the SAHRC called on the king to double efforts at reconciling South Africans and migrants in KwaZulu-Natal. He was also encouraged not to stop addressing the xenophobia allegations levelled against him in the media.
Also, the commission implored him to see to it that a Peace Accord, which he promised to help draft, is speedily signed and publicised.