South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has said that those found guilty of rape should be castrated, the IOL news site reports.
“This would end this thing… this should be done in a way that would show the world that the Zulu nation does not tolerate this shame,” he is quoted as telling his subjects at a celebration on Tuesday.
“Men like us”, he added, would perform the operation.
His reported comments come as concerns about violence against women in South Africa have dominated the news agenda there.
Addressing parliament last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the statistics were similar to those of a country at war.
Over 41,000 people were raped in South Africa in the year from April 2018. That amounts to more than one rape every 15 minutes.
IOL reports King Goodwill as saying: “Since we do circumcision, this time we have to go beyond [the cutting]. We should do this as part of honouring King Shaka who made the laws, the nation and respect. We should restore respect.”
An activist for the rights group Sonke Gender Justice that deals with violence against women is quoted as saying “taking violent action against perpetrators would never solve the issue”.
The king does not have formal political power but remains very influential among South Africa’s largest ethnic group.