Zulu King face rights violation charge over xenophobia

Zulu King face rights violation charge over xenophobia
Published: 16 April 2015 (1412 Views)

Durban - Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini faces another charge of hate speech and violating human rights - this time by the Western Cape organiser of the SA National Defence Union.

Tim Flack, famously booted out of a Parliament committee meeting in 2013 for wearing shorts, 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.

"I decided I should probably also not be just tweeting about it, I should do something myself," said Flack.

"It seems that couch activism and having hashtags doesn't do anything."

He decided to go ahead and lay the charge online on the SA Human Rights Commission's website, for allegedly inciting violence, and sedition.

He said the commission acknowledged his complaint, telling him it had been referred to its KwaZulu-Natal office.

The rights Flack alleges were 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".

"So I cited those [rights] and mentioned that I believed he had incited xenophobic attacks and destabilised 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."

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena could not immediately confirm Flack's complaint, but said he had just returned from an SAHRC trip to KwaZulu-Natal, which included a visit to the king's office for a similar complaint received a few weeks ago.

He would not say who had laid that complaint, nor the outcome of the meeting at the king's office.

City Press reported that king said his words had been lost in translation and that he had been misquoted.

Mangena said SAHRC team had visited camps housing displaced people and lamented the poor conditions there, which included two children being taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for diarrhoea.

"The situation is grave. It is very sad. The places that these people are staying at are not really meant for a long period stay. There are concerns about health, especially women and children."

The commission called on authorities to make sure they are properly housed.

Mangena said there had been simmering tensions in KwaZulu-Natal for a long time - mostly around businesses, and the looting was evidence that poverty was playing an important role in it.

- Byo24News

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