Khoi, San protest at Parliament for recognition

2015-12-03 17:01
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Representatives of the Khoi and the San demanded on Thursday that government stop all land claims until their land is returned to them.

During a colourful protest at Parliament that took place through clouds of the medicinal plant, buchu, Stanley Peterson from the National Khoi San Council said the government must stop calling them "coloured".

He has already won a case in the Equality Court against Northern Cape Premier Sylia Lucas to not call them Hottentots.

They want to be recognised as the first people of South Africa and they want their land claims to be recognised first.

Protesters also sought the recognition of the pre-democracy SA Coloured Corps as military veterans. This is so they can enjoy the same benefits as military veterans from Umkhonto we Sizwe, who were the armed wing of the ANC.

"The Khoi San revolution has started with its first step," said Peterson, who wore an animal skin draped around his shoulders and had wooden beads hanging down his chest.

They were tired of being ignored and sidelined, they said, and were upset to find on Thursday that Parliament was already in recess. They had hoped to give their demands to President Jacob Zuma and have a reply by the time he went on holiday.

Reading a memorandum to Parliament's representative from the presidency, Ella Govender, Calvin Koebaha said the South African government was aware of the rights of the Khoi San people but was not implementing them.

Reject the Khoi San bill

They rejected the Khoi-San bill currently moving through Parliament, and claimed Parliament was consulting with people who did not represent them.

In August, Cabinet approved the traditional and Khoi-San leadership bill, saying this followed 29 consultations with various departments and institutions on the role of traditional leaders.

The Khoi San had been left out of previous legislation on traditional structures, but are included in this one which aims to deal with how traditional leaders are recognised and determines resources to be made available to these structures to carry out their functions.

Part of the process for this bill is to confirm who are the kings, queens, royalty and chiefs in South Africa.

During the protest, Peterson was referred to as a prince and Koebeha as a king, but Griqua Khoi San chief, Marthinus Pieters, said these titles were not officially recognised by the government yet. A meeting of 21 Khoi and San clans would determine these positions for confirmation by the government.

Pieters explained that the name Khoi San is derived from the word "Khoi" for people who lived in the area around Table Mountain in the Western Cape and the "San" hail from the drier regions of the Northern Cape.

After facing weeks of stop start protests by students and striking National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union members, Parliament's police had locked the gates when the group of about 100 people arrived, most wearing animal skins or leopard print fabric.

A small group of police with shields were summoned to form a cordon blocking access to the gates, but the group soon dispersed.

Read more on:    nehawu  |  cape town  |  protests  |  parliament 2015

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