King Goodwill Zwelithini on Monday said it was important for him to hold an urgent imbizo following the spate of attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal last week.
He made the decision to call the imbizo after meeting with Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and State Security Minister David Mahlobo.
“It was important for me to intervene because this was a crisis,” he told a crowd at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Zwelithini said in the past 44 years as king he had learnt a lot about respecting elders.
“If you want to be respected on day as a leader, you need to learn to be a good listener.
“I am speaking today as your father. I want to thank Amakhosi and Izinduna for coming out at such short notice.”
The king said the last two months reminded him of the Rwandan genocide.
“This was the worst massacre in history… It showed the role played by the media and the political leaders in the killing.
“In 2015, we woke up to the news of the Kenyan killings. We are heartbroken as the Zulu monarch. It was reported that 147 people were killed.
“To bring it back home, we know that foreign nationals have been displaced in the last three weeks,” he said.
“What’s shameful is that this is not the first time,” he said referring to the xenophobia attacks in 2008.
“I want to emphasise this because it appears as though this is only happening to foreign nationals from African countries… In 2008, more than 62 people lost their lives. The Human Rights Commission in 2009 released information that these attacks began in Gauteng and then spread to other sections in South Africa…I say this because South Africa has previously been warned by the Human Rights Commission.”
Zwelithini said that what happened in Durban last week showed that the country had not learnt from the past.
“The violence is said to have emanated from the speech I delivered in Pongola.
“People who were in Pongola have not killed anyone and nor is Pongola on fire today. I believe what I said in Pongola needed no translation,” he said.
Zwelithini said the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) needed to be given time to conduct its investigation thoroughly and without intimidation.
“I’ve written two letters to the commission and have urged them to also investigate the media’s involvement in inciting violence. News24