Photo: Supplied

Pietermaritzburg – Members of the Khoisan community in the KwaZulu-Natal capital city of Pietermaritzburg called on government to swiftly address their plight and accord them equal status with other population groups.

Such recognition should come in the form of land and equal opportunity, including the recognition of their language

These were some of the sentiments expressed at Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Thursday during the public hearing on the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill.

The draft legislation seeks to incorporate “Coloureds” and accord them equal status among indigenous people in South Africa.

During the emotionally-charged hearing a number of people said they felt left out during the apartheid period and under a new democratic order.

Niel Lowe, chairperson of the Griqua Action Committee, said while they welcomed the recognition of the Khoisan community there was a need for more workshops so that there would be a thorough understanding of the bill.

He decried how they were treated in South Africa citing a number of laws which he said left them out.

“Affirmative Action does not work in our favour, in fact it excludes us just like Broad Based Economic Empowerment. We need to be treated as indigenous people of this country,” said Lowe.

Under the draft legislation, the Khoisan community would also have their traditional leaders in the form of headmen and chiefs.

Danella Wilday also called for the scrapping of the “Coloured”, tag labeling it as derogatory. “We are Griqua people, stop calling us Coloureds.”

According to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio committee chairman, Richard Mdakane, another public hearing is set for Kokstad, in KwaZulu-Natal’s Griqualand East area.

African News Agency