The Khoisan have been camping at the Union Buildings for more than a year. Picture: James Mahlokwane
The Khoisan have been camping at the Union Buildings for more than a year. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Khoisan protesters camping at Union Buildings for a year intend to stay put

Time of article published Dec 4, 2019

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Pretoria - The Khoisan who have been camping on the lawns of the Union Buildings demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa give in to the demands of their people will stay put at the national key-point throughout the festive season. 

Having just marked over a year sleeping in tents on the lawns, leader of the group Chief Khoisan SA said they were determined to survive cold and rainy nights until Ramaphosa walks down the stairs from his offices to talk to them.

They have been calling on the South African government and its president Ramaphosa to declare the Khoisan the first nation of the country and rightful owners of the land. 

The chief said they want the government to scrap the term coloured from it’s documents and make some of the languages of the Khoisan people official South African languages.  

“We remain adamant that we will not leave this place and no amount of rain or holiday fever will sway us from our mission. 

On November 30 we marked a year of protests here and this is officially the longest protest,” said the chief.

He said even though Ramaphosa recently signed the Traditional and  Khoisan Leadership Bill into law this November, they were not altogether impressed. 

According to Ramaphosa, the bill seeks to transform traditional and Khoisan institutions in line with constitutional imperatives, such as the Bill of Rights, and restore the integrity and legitimacy of the institutions of traditional and Khoisan leadership in line with customary law and practices. 

Chief Khoisan SA said his people were not moved by the bill because it’s just an old bill that used to be called the Traditional Leadership Bill but now they’ve just added the term “Khoisan” to make it seem more accommodating.

“This bill does not clearly state and acknowledge us as the first nation of the country and the rightful owner of the land. 

"It does not say how much land will be given to us. It’s basically just an old bill that’s just made to sound good with fancy words. 

“This bill has been hanging around for a long time. We went through a public participation process and made suggestions of what we want and those suggestions were not used to amend the bill. 

"It’s clear the president is not yet ready to take us serious and we shall continue our protest.

“Our demands are bigger than just government releasing statements. 

"We also want the scrapping of the word coloured in government documents because it 1991 they banned the use of the word when they also banned the K-word. Now when you talk to this very same government they’ll ask you if we remove it, what are those people who call themselves coloured...well had you been consistent you wouldn’t need to ask that question because you banned the use of the term.

Pretoria News

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