Khoisan group vows to sit it out in Pretoria

Khoi activists, from left, Shane Plaaitjies, Chief Khoisan SA, Brendon Billings and MPL Christian Martin are at the Union Buildings in Pretoria after walking from the Eastern Cape Picture: Supplied

Armed with a memorandum of grievances and dressed in traditional Khoisan attire, Chief Khoisan SA spoke out yesterday against the alleged harsh treatment he and his followers received after security staff at the Union Buildings in Pretoria denied them access.

The chief and his followers left Port Elizabeth on foot on November 13 for the journey to the Union Buildings to hand over a list of demands to either President Jacob Zuma or his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. They arrived on November 30. “We were treated worse than a dog,” Chief Khoisan SA said.

“We are dressed in our traditional attire but they [security] expected us to wear suits.

“They did not allow us to enter the Union Buildings. They said we were inappropriately dressed.

“We are here to deliver a memorandum to the president or his deputy. We are not returning without seeing them.”

The 49-year-old chief travelled 1 200km to Pretoria with community members Bredon Billings, 37, and Shane Plaatjies, 23.

While they wait for a response from the presidency, the group has set up a camp on the lawns.

Their demands include the community being officially recognised as the first citizens of the country, and for their language to be included as an official language.

The chief said this was the fourth time they had handed a petition to government officials.

“We felt it was time to take it directly to the Union Buildings,” he said. MPL Christian Martin said he had decided to join the trio after they had been turned away.

“We attend the state of the nation address in the same attire,” he said.

Hendrick Mphande

HeraldLIVE

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