First-nation status for Khoisan ‘unsustainable’
and doing away with separate structures for the Khoisan.
“Let’s not go into the temptation of giving them the firstnation status.
“If we go that route, it’s unsustainable … because they would then want their own government within the government system that we have,” said Bapela.
He explained that the UN definition of first nation is applicable in Latin America and Canada, where people were completely removed from their land and some arrived and settled there.
He said that in South Africa, the land still belongs to the Khoisan, together with other indigenous people of Africa, “rather than the first nation because we do not know who arrived at which point, when and where, and that history is not easy to trace”.
The director-general for traditional affairs, Muzamani Charles Nwaila, had earlier explained that the issue of firstnation status has got benefits attached to it. He said that at the UN, those that had first-nation status had got to have their own government, own schools, own economic system and own set-up.
“But South Africa is a sovereign state and you can’t have a state within a state,” he said.
A document presented to the committee revealed that the