Khoisan leader says time for talking is over after 'broken trust' with Ramaphosa

2019-02-27 19:52
Chief Khoisan SA (left) and Milano Gordon (File,  Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Chief Khoisan SA (left) and Milano Gordon (File, Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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A Khoisan leader Chief Khoisan SA says a group of Khoisan declared self-governance on January 1 because "the time for talking is now over and it is time for implementation".

He is referring to talks a group of six Khoisan had with President Cyril Ramaphosa while he was still deputy president in 2017.

On that occasion, the group made a 1 200km trek from the Eastern Cape to Pretoria to hand over a list of demands which included that the Khoisan people be recognised as the first indigenous nation in South Africa; the removal of the label "coloured" from all official papers as reference for people of mixed colour, to be replaced with "Khoisan"; that Kwadi-Khoe be listed as an official language in South Africa and that the Khoisan be given land and resources to continue their culture and traditions.

He says they will now continue to engage other Khoisan leaders across the country to talk about issues of self-governance and how to roll it out to the rest of the country.

The so-called Khoisan six, who were part of the 2017 trek to the Union Buildings, arrived in Cape Town earlier this month and will visit other leaders in Mitchell's Plain, Eerste River, George and Caledon among others.

"Once the Khoisan leaders have met throughout the country, we will get [a] mandate which will be presented to the president. The issues we will be discussing are about language, land and identity," he told News24.

"Because the president broke his promise of communicating back to us, the trust has been broken," Khoisan said. 

News24 previously reported that Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the Khoisan demands were "complex matters which the group wants government to address instantly".

In a statement issued last year, the Presidency said the government has made big strides in the promotion and recognition of the Khoi and San languages, through the Pan South African Language Board.

This included the development of a Khoekhoegowab Dictionary Glossarium, 500 copies of which have been distributed.

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