26 March 2021 - NW362
Joseph, Mr D to ask the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Whether the Government has responded to the memorandum with demands received from the Khoisan group that has been camping at the Union Buildings for two years; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the memorandum as well as the response thereto?
The Honourable Member is requested to note that the Government has engaged with Mr. Khoi-San SA and the accompanying Khoi-San group since their arrival at the Union Buildings towards the end of 2018, with a view to update them on how the issues they have raised were being addressed. The group raised the following complex matters which cannot be resolved overnight, but various departments have since been seized with them;
a) Introduction of the Khoi-San languages in schools in all provinces;
b) Access to land for the Khoi-San through finalisation of land claims that they submitted 22 years ago;
c) Recognition of Khoi-San as a group and as opposed to classifying them as Coloureds; and ensuring that they will participate in Census 2021 under that categorisation and not as Coloureds;
d) Review the Traditional Courts Act’s jurisdiction to include the Khoi and San;
e) Declaration of the place where Mr. Adam Kok died as a heritage site; and
f) Renaming of the Port Elizabeth Airport after one of the Khoi-San leaders.
The relevant details of the responses are attached hereto as Annexure A.
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NUMBER 362
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19 FEBRUARY 2020
a) Introduction of the Khoi-San languages in schools in all provinces:
Government has previously reported on the ground-breaking work done by the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) to support the development and use of Khoi-San languages. This included the development of a Khoekhoegowab Glossarium which remains a valuable reference for language teaching, language acquisition and use, promotion, preservation and maintenance.
PanSALB is adapting the Khoekhoegowab Orthography rules into Nama Spelling and Orthography rules in order to train educators who will be able to educate children on the language and culture of the Khoi-San people. The San language is being gradually introduced in schools in the Northern Cape Province. The Department of Basic Education (DBE), in preparation for introducing the Nama language in schools with speakers of the language, developed the Grades 4-6 Toolkit. The Toolkit is being made available in the Nama language and the availability of the Toolkit is one of DBE’s concrete measures towards ensuring that the Nama language is offered in the schools.
b) Access to land for the Khoi-San through finalisation of land claims that they submitted 22 years ago:
Regarding the finalisation of land claims, this is work that is administered by the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), and through its various programmes, the Department has confirmed that the Khoi-San communities have successfully claimed land in many provinces. Where there are enquiries about specific claims on which feedback may not have been received, such details should be provided to DALRRD for follow up and actioning as appropriate.
c) Recognition of Khoi-San as a group as opposed to classifying them as Coloureds; and ensuring that they will participate in Census 2021 under that categorisation and not as Coloureds:
The group raised concerns with the usage of the word Coloured as they deemed it offensive and derogatory. They therefore demanded that it be scrapped and replaced with what they regard as a more appropriate word to describe them, which is Khoi-San. However, we cannot ignore the fact that in our country there are people who self- identify as Coloured. Scrapping the word ‘coloured’ can therefore not just be a unilateral decision of government given the profound implications this may have for those who self-identify as coloured. However, for purposes of the country’s next Census, Statistics South Africa has advised that the manner in which the question on race is posed will allow people to classify themselves in whichever group they identify with. Those who classify themselves as Khoi-San will thus indicate that and be coded as such.
d) Review the Traditional Courts Act’s jurisdiction to include the Khoi-San:
Regarding the demand on Traditional Courts, the Traditional Courts Bill, 2017(the Bill) is currently still before Parliament. This Bill was adopted by the Select Committee on Justice and Security on 18 November 2020. The Bill defines a traditional court as follows:
“traditional court’’ means a customary institution or structure, which is constituted and functions in terms of customary law, for purposes of resolving disputes, in accordance with constitutional imperatives and this Act, and which is referred to in the different official languages as—
(a) ‘‘eBandla’’ in isiNdebele;
(b) ‘‘Huvo’’ in Xitsonga;
(c) ‘‘Inkundla’’ in isiZulu;
(d) ‘‘iNkhundla’’ in siSwati;
(e) ‘‘iNkundla‘‘in isiXhosa;
(f) ‘‘Kgoro’’ in Sepedi;
(g) ‘‘Kgotla’’ in Sesotho;
(h) ‘‘Khoro’’ in Tshivenda;
(i) ‘‘Kgotla’’ in Setswana; and
(j) a tribunal for Khoi-San communities.
This definition recognises fora that may be existent in Khoi-San communities even if it is not called a traditional court but is a forum where disputes are resolved in the community. Therefore, Khoi-San communities will not be excluded from the operation of the Bill when it is finally enacted. However, should there still be concerns about the Bill, these should be raised through the transparent and participatory processes that underpin the manner in which Parliament works.
e) Declaration of the place where Adam Kok died as a heritage site:
On the demand to declare the grave of the late Adam Kok II as a heritage site, government has undoubtedly demonstrated its recognition of this great leader who is known to have fought against colonial encroachment in the central western regions of South Africa. As part of Heritage Day celebrations in 2018, our country witnessed the unveiling of a statue of Adam Kok II in Kokstad by the acting President at time, His Excellency Mr David Mabuza. The Department of Sports Arts and Culture will engage the South African Heritage Resources Agency to consider the grading and declaration of the graves of the late Adam Kok II and Adam Kok I.
This will be done within the context of the Khoi and San Heritage Route Project as well as the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route Projects which are led by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. The National Khoi and San Heritage Route is a national legacy project whose implementation was approved by Cabinet in June 2020. The route will identify, highlight, conserve, and promote the heritage of the Khoi, Nama, Griqua, Khorana, and San. This project contributes towards the acknowledgment of the previously neglected and marginalised South African communities.
f) Renaming of the Port Elizabeth Airport after one of the Khoi-San leaders:
On the possible renaming of the Port Elizabeth Airport after one of the Khoi-San leaders, the Department wishes to indicate that strides have been made in this regard. As from Tuesday, 23 February 2021, the Port Elizabeth Airport has been renamed by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and will from now on be known as Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport.
Government will continue to implement all these and other critical programmes to ensure that the plight of the Khoi-San communities is addressed.