KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday challenged anyone who claimed to have evidence of a homophobic statement made by the Zulu king to produce it.
Addressing members of the Royal Household portfolio committee in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Mkhize expressed disappointment at the interpretation of King Good Zwelithini's speech, which he delivered on Sunday at the 133rd commemoration of the January 22, 1879 battle of Isandlwana.
According to Mkhize, the Zulu king had denounced any form of abuse, and had not lashed out at gays and lesbians.
The Human Rights Commission said on Monday it would write to Zwelithini to determine whether he had, in fact, made homophobic statements.
According to The Times, Zwelithini told guests in Nquthu that “traditionally, there were no people who engaged in same sex-relationships”.
“There was nothing like that and if you do it, you must know that you are rotten. I don't care how you feel about it. If you do it, you must know that it is wrong and you are rotten. Same sex is not acceptable,” he was quoted as saying.
The Zulu Royal Household on Monday criticised the “reckless translation” of Zwelithini's speech.
“At no stage did His Majesty condemn gay relations or same sex relations,” his spokesman Prince Mbonisi Zulu said.