Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa received a memorandum from a delegation of KhoiBushmen Liberation Walkers on Sunday, on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, the Presidency said.
"On receiving the memorandum, Deputy President Ramaphosa assured the delegation that the memorandum would be given the necessary consideration. Deputy President Ramaphosa also informed the group of the passage by the National Assembly of a Bill that gives recognition to the Khoisan community and its heritage," the Presidency said in a statement.
"Deputy President Ramaphosa said the next step would be the submission of the Bill to the National Council of Provinces. This process demonstrated government’s determination to attend to the concerns of this community in a responsible and consultative manner."
Ramaphosa received the memorandum near the Nelson Mandela statue on the Union Buildings gardens where the group of four had set up camp to highlight land and identity issues.
Earlier on Sunday, a group of four Khoisan activists who have staged a live-in protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria left in high spirits expressing gratitude to the thousands of South Africans who came over to support their cause.
The group of four Khoisan tribesmen resolved to end their 24-day protest after Ramaphosa came out to meet them. For weeks, the group has been appealing for Zuma or his deputy to come and receive their memorandum. They also made an appearance when the ruling African National Congress held its elective conference in Johannesburg last week, but were blocked from entering the venue.
“The deputy president came to us and he took the memorandum, he signed it. That was why we were here the whole time. We are glad about this, because this will now mean we will be with our families for Christmas time. What is also positive about our staying here is we have basically united a lot of races, coming together,” 49-year-old tribe leader Chief Khoisan SA told African News Agency.
“There was support from everybody, and that was a positive thing about this.”
In their memorandum, the indigenous Khoisan tribe is demanding recognition from the South African government as “first citizens” of the republic.
“We are asking for first nation status. [We want] our language to be made an official language. We want the Land Claim [Act] of 1913 to be scrapped because it is withholding us from making any land claims. The fourth one is that we want the coloured identity to be scrapped. That is not who we are,” said Chief Khoisan SA.
He said he holds no grudges regarding the time members of the Presidency took before meeting them.
“I’m actually more happy because through the time that we have been here, a lot of people have visited us. A lot of people have given positive feedback, saying 'guys we are behind you, we support you’. That is the positive thing about it,” said Chief Khoisan SA.
The group of four walked from the Eastern Cape province to Pretoria, determined to have a word with Zuma or Ramaphosa.
As they left the Union Buildings on Sunday, Chief Khoisan SA said he had only kind words to share with his family in Port Elizabeth regarding the residents of Pretoria.
“I will be telling them that the people of Pretoria welcomed me very well, and I’m glad for that,” he said with a smile.
African News Agency (ANA)