Anonymous callers have threatened to burn down the office if it continued its investigation into Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini after his alleged anti-foreigner speech in Pongola last month, which is widely believed to have sparked the xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal three weeks ago.
A source within the SAHRC revealed to City Press one of the threatening remarks: “If you do not immediately stop with the investigation against the king, your office will be burnt with you in it.”
Another was directed at SAHRC staff: “Be careful. We are watching you. And we know where you live.”
SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena confirmed the organisation had received numerous threatening letters and calls that came through to the provincial offices “regarding our investigation into the alleged utterance by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini at the moral regeneration event in Pongola”.
Mangena said the SAHRC was concerned about the threats because many of the organisation’s staff members “work in the communities where some of the calls and letters come from”.
He declined to reveal from which areas the threats were being received.
“The commission is continuing with its investigation into the king’s utterances and will release a report with its finding at the end of the investigation,” he said.
Mangena said the threats, which were being taken seriously, were now being analysed to see how much danger they posed to the commission and its staff.
He said the commission believed that Zwelithini had no role in the threats and said that the king’s office had been co-operating with the SAHRC’s investigation.
“Whether there is a threat or not, we don’t believe that the king has anything to do with that.”
Government’s plan of action
City Press has obtained a copy of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure report, which reveals a 27-step programme to address xenophobia and immigration-related problems in South Africa.
The plan is a mix of tough action against foreigners who are in South Africa illegally, and action against those perpetrating the violence.
It includes the re-registration of all foreigners who have been displaced by the recent violence and who are now staying in refugee camps, and the repatriation of those found to be in the country illegally. The department of home affairs will also begin to trace and monitor foreign nationals. All who enter and leave the country will have to submit biometric information such as fingerprints.
In addition, all government departments will support the programme to reintegrate legal migrants into the communities they fled.
The plan also details daily troop deployments to hot spots, and a massive deployment of intelligence agents to develop a xenophobia early warning system.
The SA Police Service, prosecutors and intelligence departments will work together on a case management system with dedicated courts, prosecutors and interpreters to expedite cases. National police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said 330 people had already been arrested in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and North West in connection with the attacks. Specialised courts, which already have close to 50 cases before them, had been set up in Chatsworth, Durban and Umlazi, said KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko.
Meanwhile, top South African government officials are furious about the Nigerian Senate’s public reprimand following the xenophobic attacks. — City Press.