Bill brings Khoisan recog­ni­tion closer

● Tra­di­tional leader Craw­ford Fraser says land needed to prac­tise their cul­ture

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - No­maz­ima Nkosi nkosino@ti­soblack­

The Khoi and San are a step closer to be­ing legally recog­nised as a na­tion with their own tra­di­tional lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ties.

The Bhisho leg­is­la­ture adopted the Tra­di­tional KhoiSan Lead­er­ship Bill on Wed­nes­day.

The bill aims to recog­nise Khoi and San struc­tures and com­mu­ni­ties and also to in­clude them in the House of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers.

It still, how­ever, needs par­lia­men­tary ap­proval.

The bill aims to recog­nise Khoi and San lead­er­ship struc­tures and com­mu­ni­ties not yet ad­dressed in law.

Co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs MEC Fi- kile Xasa con­firmed Bhisho had passed the bill and sent it to the Na­tional Assem­bly for its pe­rusal.

Xasa said es­sen­tially the bill spoke about an in­clu­sive tra­di­tional lead­er­ship which in­cluded Khoi and San lead­ers.

“The is­sue of ju­ris­dic­tion by the tra­di­tional lead­ers will be ad­dressed but for now the bill will be en­dorsed,” Xasa said.

Khoi and San chief Craw­ford Fraser said they ac­cepted the bill know­ing amend­ments still had to be made.

Fraser said the Khoi and San lead­er­ship were clear that the first thing they needed was land so that they could per­form their rit­u­als.

“In order for us to prac­tise our cul­ture, the first thing we need is land to per­form our rit­u­als that need to be ex­er­cised.

“To put us in an of­fice to have meet­ings to dis­cuss cul­ture and we can’t live out our cul­ture is not go­ing to ben­e­fit us or our peo­ple,” Fraser said.

Fraser said they also wanted to be recog­nised as the first in­dige­nous peo­ple of South­ern Africa which, in its cur­rent form, the bill does not do.

Fraser said he recog­nised that the bill pro­vided a gate­way for Khoi and San lead­ers to sit around a ta­ble with govern­ment lead­ers to as­sist with de­ci­sion mak­ing pro­cesses for their peo­ple.

Khoi and San ac­tivist and ANC MPL Chris­tian Martin wel­comed the adop­tion of the bill, say­ing he was very ex­cited.

“Govern­ment is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” Martin said.

“The ex­cite­ment is very high and the recog­ni­tion of the Khoi and San peo­ple in the land of our birth is long over­due,” he said.

Martin said the chiefs had made sub­mis­sions to amend the bill and he said he was confident those would be made be­cause no-one was com­pletely sat­is­fied with it.

Mean­while, DA MPL Vicky Knoetze did not sup­port the bill be­cause it re­quired the Khoi and San peo­ple to de­clare their af­fil­i­a­tion while tra­di­tion- al af­fil­i­a­tions would be de­ter­mined by ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion “along the same bound­aries of the old apartheid Ban­tus­tan lines”.

“The bill dis­crim­i­nates be­tween so-called ‘tra­di­tional’ lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, and the Khoisan lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, by en­forc­ing dif­fer­ent recog­ni­tion cri­te­ria.

“The ge­o­graph­i­cal en­force­ment of tra­di­tional af­fil­i­a­tions is un­con­sti­tu­tional and stands to fur­ther com­pli­cate al­ready prob­lem­atic land resti­tu­tion,” Knoetze said.

Knoetze said 14 years af­ter the Tra­di­tional Lead­er­ship Frame­work Act was first passed, many tra­di­tional coun­cils had still not been es­tab­lished, and where they had, many were il­le­gal and failed to meet the cri­te­ria.

‘The ex­cite­ment is very high and the recog­ni­tion of the Khoi and San peo­ple in the land of our birth is long over­due’

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