Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini will hold a meeting with traditional leaders in a bid to stop xenophobic attacks.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu made the announcement in Durban on Friday where he again urged locals not to attack foreigners. Mchunu said Zwelithini would hold the meeting with the Amakhosi on Monday at one of the stadiums in the city.
Durban has been wracked by a continuing spate of attacks on immigrants, which many have blamed on a speech Zwelithini made last month in which he reportedly expressed anti-immigrant sentiments.
Mchunu said Zwelithini was considering a direct broadcast to urge calm.
“We have met with his majesty twice. He is extremely unhappy. He rejects the attacks. He’s expressing concerns at some of the activities carried out by foreigners.”
‘Misintepreted’ Mchunu said Zwelithini’s speech last month, where he reportedly said “foreigners must pack their bags and go home”, was misinterpreted. He said the king meant to call on government to address his concerns regarding foreigners.
Mchunu said it was not a call for attacks to be carried out on foreigners.
The premier’s announcement follows a march against xenophobia in Durban on Thursday, which was marred by police having running street battles with those who are against foreigners. But Mchunu insisted the march was a success and there were more people who had marched against xenophobia than those that had caused it.
Asked what information the government had about those who were involved in the attacks against foreign businesses, he said the initial attacks had started randomly, but it now seemed “there was a calculated move to target foreign businesses”.
He said there appeared to be three issues that were upsetting locals. These were that informal traders in the townships could not compete with the prices which foreign-owned businesses were selling their products, criminality that foreigners were involved in and a lack of respect shown by foreigners to locals.
Mchunu announced the establishment of a seven-man panel to investigate locals’ complaints against foreigners and how they can be addressed.
The panel would be headed by Judge Navi Pillay.