Fight for land worth dying for - Khoi San

2015-12-10 21:24
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The fight for land restitution for the country’s indigenous people was worth dying for, a Koranna leader in Cape Town said on Thursday.

"This is Khoi land," insisted !Xam Koranna from the Koranna people of Hangberg.

"If I have to die [to get it back], I have to die. My blood can be spilled so my children and grandchildren can see and continue this fight for another 500 years."

He insisted he had no faith in government structures to facilitate land restitution.

"Why are we not black enough to get back what is ours?" he asked.

"The government call themselves African people, but they don’t know the history of Africa. They are not African people. They are invaders – they are foreigners."

Emotions ran high during the second day of proceedings at the Goodwood civic centre of a national hearing convened by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The hearing was convened following complaints to the SAHRC from the Khoi, San, Nama, Griqua and Koranna communities about access to basic services, land and the constitutionality of the indigenous groups in South Africa.

Deputy land claims commissioner Thami Mdontswa said the department would in future make a concerted effort to include Khoi and San communities in land restitution processes to ensure representation from these groups.

When SAHRC panel member advocate Mohamed Shafie Ameermia pointed out to Mdontswa restitution claims lodged during the first round had still not been resolved, the audience responded with thunderous applause.

"If they can’t even sort out claims from less than 100 years ago, how can they prioritise our case which dates back to the 1700s?" one angry audience member asked.

Mdontswa admitted there was still a backlog of claims lodged before 1998.

He said the commission would first deal with the backlog before dealing with newer claims.

Mdontswa later encouraged frustrated Khoi San audience members that should they not continue to raise the issue, they would be "robbing" themselves from their "right to answers".

Read more on:    cape town  |  culture

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