As the day dawned for the scheduled peace march where South Africans will lend their voice to ending Xenophobia, about 10,000 people are expected to turn out for the walk which was scheduled to begin by 10am. But what most people seemed to notice more than anything is the absence of the one person who has been called the chief mastermind of the Xenophobic violence that has claimed a lot of lives.
Even though King Goodwill has severally denied making any of the comments that were traced back to him, his absence from the peace walk speaks louder than his denials. Three weeks ago‚ King Zwelithini said foreigners must go back to where they came from.
“We are requesting those who come from outside to please go back to their countries.”
At first, he denied the statement until the media replayed a recording of it widely‚ Then the king defended his statement‚ saying the media “misinterpreted his words and distorts them to sell newspapers“.
In a more recent development however, King Goodwill Zwelithini is facing another charge of hate speech and violating human rights – this time by the Western Cape organizer of the SA National Defense Union Tim Flack.
Flack said he was spurred into action after watching complaints on Twitter that not enough was being done to stop xenophobic violence in South Africa by the country’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
He said they were rounding on Gigaba’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete and getting “big mouthed and sitting around having tea” but not doing anything about it so he decided that instead of tweeting about it too, it would be best for everyone if he actually did something about it since couch activism and hashtags don’t do anything, So he went ahead to lay the charge online on the SA Human Rights Commission’s website, for allegedly inciting violence, and sedition.
“Twitter activists are playing hairdryer politics. I decided to do something. The king needs to account and be charged for inciting this violence.”
Over 5 people have been killed in the violence that ensued and Foreigners are currently being evacuated out of Primrose area with the help of the Gauteng police. Flack laid the charges in his personal capacity with the support of the union.
Flacks’s complaint was acknowledged by the commission which said it had been referred the suit to its KwaZulu-Natal office. In the charge, Flack alleges that the rights violated by the king include the rights to dignity, security, life, movement and residence, contained in the Bill of Rights.
This followed reports of a speech he made in Pongola, KwaZulu- Natal, towards the end of March in which the king complained about crime and dirty streets saying, ”forgive me but I must speak”. According to an eNCA translation of the clip from Zulu, he said, reportedly, that immigrants should ”take their bags and go”.
Flack discusses the importance of the charge saying ”So I cited those [rights] and mentioned that I believed he had incited xenophobic attacks and destabilized portions of the country.”
”I want him to be criminally charged for this, and he needs to be held accountable in terms of the law. He can’t expect there to be no repercussions.”