Durban - Comments by the Zulu king that foreigners should go back to their home countries because they are changing the nature of South African society with their amanikiniki or goods and enjoying wealth that should have been for local people have horrified foreigners who have been dealing with a spate of xenophobic attacks around the country.
King Goodwill Zwelithini made the comments in a “moral regeneration” event in Pongola at the weekend.
The speech was reported in The Mercury’s sister newspaper Isolezwe and on radio station Igagasi FM.
Somali Association of South Africa (SASA) chairman Ismail Ahmed said the statements could spark violence that would cause irreparable damage to the relationship between South Africans and the rest of Africa.
Shako Kuminga, who represents the Congolese in Durban, said the king’s statement came while Congolese nationals were mourning deaths caused by a series of xenophobic attacks.
His countryman Noel Beya Dinshistia, a bouncer at a local nightclub, was doused in a flammable substance before being set alight while on duty two weeks ago.
He said the attackers were South Africans. Police spokesman Thulani Zwane confirmed the incident, but said no one had been arrested.
“Every week a Congolese is attacked in this city. On Friday a Congolese was attacked while returning from work.
“He was attacked because he worked as security guard.
“My wife (Tina Mwange) was stabbed in the Point area yesterday.”
He said a Congolese woman known to the family was kidnapped in 2010 from Che Guevara (Moore) Road in Glenwood and taken to Umlazi where she was raped.
“What the king is saying is not helping the situation,” Kuminga said.
Ahmed said Somalis in South Africa also paid allegiance to the king.
“He is also our king and he should be protecting us.”
In his speech King Zwelithini said when South Africans were in exile they did not settle in other countries and start trading.
“Instead, when you were in their countries you helped them to get their freedom. I know that other countries were liberated because of liberation armies from South Africa,” he was quoted saying.
“(But now) when you walk in the street you cannot recognise a shop that you used to know because it has been taken over by foreigners, who then mess it up by hanging amanikiniki,” he said.
The king said foreigners were doing as they pleased because locals were not behaving properly and not respecting their hard-won freedom.
He said foreigners had realised that South Africans were stupid, which was why they were taking over the wealth.
“My ancestor King Cetshwayo fought for this country, which in 1994 was liberated.
“It cannot be that in 2015 the liberation is being damaged by (local) people who are not obeying the law, are thieves, child rapists and too lazy to plough the fields.”
Political leaders were too afraid to tell South Africans the truth about their bad behaviour because they were scared of losing votes, he said.
Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and Community and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu were present during the speech and the king apologised for raising his concerns.
“I have to talk about this because I am the king; I don’t have to wait for five years (for votes). As the king of the Zulu nation and among those who liberated this country, the time has come for me to say I’m fed up to be led by people (political leaders) who cannot express themselves.”
king’s spokesman, Thulani Zulu, said he could not comment as he was not present when the speech was delivered and he did not know who wrote it.