JOHANNESBURG — King Goodwill Zwelithini meant each and every word when he said foreigners must pack their bags and get out of South Africa.
So said Zwelithini’s spokesman, Prince Thulani Zulu, who said yesterday the king had nothing to be sorry for.
The Zulu king’s outburst came on Saturday during his speech at a moral regeneration event in Pongola, northern Kwa-Zulu Natal.
In the presence of both Police minister Nathi Nhleko and provincial Member of the Executive Council Willies Mchunu, the king was reported to have told the gathering that it was time foreigners were told to return to their countries.
The king accused them of messing up the country’s towns by hanging their fake clothing brands on the streets.
“Now when you walk down the street you can’t recognise a shop you used to know because it has been taken over by foreigners who mess it up by hanging up rags,” the king said.
His remarks were widely condemned as encouraging hatred towards foreigners, which may result in more violent behaviour towards them.
But Prince Thulani said the king won’t apologise because he stood by what he said.
“I think the people who are complaining are misinterpreting his speech,” he said.
“He didn’t say foreigners must be attacked or harassed.
“The king was talking about foreigners who are here illegally.
“Some are involved in serious crimes like drug and human trafficking.
“We don’t need such people in our country, so the king is right.
The king’s speech has been strongly criticised for fuelling hatred against foreigners by the Somali Association of South Africa and the Congolese Solidarity Campaign.
The provincial government distanced itself from the king’s speech.
It said it was guided by the Constitution, which guarantees human rights for all in SA.