Members of the Khoi-San community filled Station Hill community hall to permitted capacity recently to welcome news of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act, 2019, which will become effective on April 1.
The legislation seeks to recognise Khoi-San Leaders and communities.
Representatives of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department’s policy and legislation development directorate who attended were Advocate Nangamso Mngoma, Nokuzola Tsoko and Unathi Qamza. They addressed the attendees about what is expected of them to be recognised as Khoi-San.
“Khoi-San which means a person who lives in accordance with the customs and customary law of the Cape-Khoi, Griqua, Nama, Koranna or San people, or any subgrouping thereof,” Tsoko explained.
She further mentioned that the provision of the Act in respect to the recognition of a traditional or Khoi-San community or leader should not be construed as bestowing upon such a community or leader any special indigenous, first nation or any other similar status.
Tsoko went on to mention that after the effective date the law comes into effect, the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs would establish a commission in which Khoi-San leaders and communities will submit their application for recognition.
“The commission will deal with Khoi-San matters and carry out its functions in a manner that is fair, objective and impartial,” Tsoko said.
She asserted that the commission would constitute members who collectively have credible knowledge on issues related to Khoi-San groupings.
“The public must be mindful that a person who is eligible for recognition as a senior Khoi-San or who is a member of a community which may apply for possible recognition as a Khoi-San community may not serve as a member of the commission,” she said.
Outlining key duties of the commission, Tsoko said: “The commission shall investigate and make recommendations to the minister on the recognition of Khoi-San communities, hereditary senior Khoi-San leaders, elected senior Khoi-San leaders and branch heads.”
Tsoko said an application should be lodged by a member of the relevant community duly authorised by such community or the royal family concerned.
Talking about applications linked to lineage, she said: “If the community has a proven history of hereditary or elected leadership, such detailed history must accompany the application.”
According to this Act as explained by Tsoko, a community may be recognised as a Khoi-San community if it has a history of self-identification by its members and of belonging to a unique community distinct from all other communities.
Another criterion for recognition stated by Tsoko was that a Khoi-San branch may be recognised if it consists of not less than 10% of the total number of members of such community as reflected in the list of community members.