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Presidential meetings won't stop attacks on foreigners: traditional leader

Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza held a media briefing on Wednesday to address issues facing SA.
Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza held a media briefing on Wednesday to address issues facing SA.
Image: Lwandile Bhengu

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial House of Traditional Leaders says issues of violence in SA will be solved at grass roots level, not by “presidents meeting in foreign lands”. 

“As traditional leaders, the first thing we need to do is to address issues of gender-based violence and attacks on foreign nationals — it won't be solved by presidents meeting in foreign lands or having the discussion in big tents. What will solve the issue is going to grass roots and asking what the problem is,” said the house’s chairperson, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza.

He was responding to a question, during a media briefing on Wednesday, about his thoughts on the envoys President Cyril Ramaphosa sent to African countries after a spate of attacks on foreigners in SA last month.

“When you get to those levels they will tell you that they are taking our jobs. The problem is they are here in their numbers and they don't respect our traditions, and that is what needs to be fixed. We need to sit down and look at what caused the anger in the first place,” said Chiliza.

“Fighting and killing won't help. We need to make sure that all these people have the correct documentation. If they don't, the police must do their job and return them to their home countries,” he added.

Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini shared similar sentiments when addressing people during Heritage Day celebrations in KwaDabeka, south of Durban.

Chiliza also spoke about the Ingonyama Trust board and land debate, saying if the government wanted to amend any part of the trust, it needed to meet ing Goodwill.

“To be honest, I need to make it clear, as a traditional house, that when you look at the laws of this country it makes it very clear that you cannot touch someone else's property without talking to them or reaching an agreement. If someone wants to do that they will need to sit down with traditional leadership and the king, and the Ingonyama Trust board, and state their case about what needs to change."

Chiliza said the house had resolved to meet local traditional houses to get their input on how the land issue should be dealt with.

On gender-based violence, he said it was important to name and shame those convicted.