Khoi, San protesters leave Parliament empty handed

2016-02-08 19:04
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - A delegation of frustrated Khoi and San representatives left Parliament empty handed on Monday after gathering outside to demand feedback from government on a list of their demands, including land restitution.

They had earlier tried to push their way into the precinct to get a reply to a memorandum they had dropped off on December 3, but were held back by a quickly assembled police cordon.

In December, they said they were tired of being marginalised. They wanted their unique identity as the "first people" of South Africa to be recognised, they wanted their land back and wanted the soldiers amongst them to be integrated into the SA National Defence Force.

Leader Stanley Peterson said they were tired of political parties either using them or neglecting them.

After archer !'Aru /Khuisi lit a ceremonial fire on the hot tar by rubbing a stick against dry grass he had brought along, Peterson unexpectedly declared war on Parliament.

He said he was prepared to die for the rights of the Khoi and the San, and a loud stand-off between them and police officers with riot shields followed.

A group of metro police officers also arrived and hung back under a berry tree while the protesters took turns shouting their grievances towards the National Assembly building.

Inside, preparations for Thursday's State of the Nation address went ahead, with marquees being erected and hedges being clipped.

The police explosives unit systematically worked through the premises to make it safe for the thousands of guests, MPs and journalists expected to arrive for President Jacob Zuma's plan of action for the coming year.

Peterson said they had formed their own political party - Khoisan Revolution - and intended contesting elections.

An official came out to discuss with them why they had gathered, and went back to do a follow-up on their December memorandum.

While they were waiting, an archer shot an arrow into the precinct and a policeman warned him not to do that again.

Another leader in the group, Willem de Wee, said they had decided to leave for the day, and were fed up with all the delays. But, he promised they would return to protest again on another day.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2016  |  protests

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