Home News Deputy minister kicks off engagements in city on new Khoi-San Leadership Act

Deputy minister kicks off engagements in city on new Khoi-San Leadership Act

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Act makes provision for the statutory recognition of Khoi-San leaders and communities, as well as the establishment of Khoi-San leadership structures.

MEC Bentley Vass and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela. Picture: Supplied

THE DEPUTY Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Obed Bapela, was in Kimberley this week to kick off the first roadshow to engage with different stakeholders on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (TKLA) 3 of 2019, which came into effect on April 1, 2021.

As determined by the president under Proclamation No. 38, the act was published in the Government Gazette No. 43981 of December 11, 2020.

The TKLA makes provision for the statutory recognition of Khoi-San leaders and communities, as well as the establishment of Khoi-San leadership structures.

The Northern Cape is the first province to host the engagements, where the deputy minister was on Wednesday joined by the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta), Bentley Vass, the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, and the leadership of the Khoi-San in the Northern Cape

Other provinces will also be included in the roadshow at a later stage, where the affected stakeholders will give expression to the provisions of the act.

Bapela said the roadshow is expected to finish up by the end of July.

He pointed out that commencement of the TKLA is a historic development as it gives formal recognition to the Khoi-San traditional leadership for the first time in history.

“Of importance as well is that this act further affords members of the Khoi-San communities to actively participate in the land reform programme and rural economic development,” said the deputy minister.

“A commission is set to be established whereby all the Khoi-San communities that apply will go through proper screening and investigations.”

Bapela said the minister of Cogta is set to appoint a commission and give a time frame for the completion of applications.

According to Bapela, the commission is expected to take five years to complete the whole process.

“The way forward is for land to be identified for the Khoi-San in order for them to freely start practising their culture and tradition, and develop their language.

“We need to move as fast as we can to allow them to start adding their language as an official language where they can read and write it at schools,” said Bapela.

He added that the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) is ready to develop the Khoi-San languages, and that they can now start participating in houses of Traditional Leaders and local and provincial governments.

“This recognition is really historic because it went through several previous presidents before president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We are happy to note that democracy has come to a point that all nations need to share the land equally.

“We hope that the engagements will ignite the debates countrywide.”

From left: Kgosi Pelonomi Toto from John Taolo District, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Obed Bapela and chairperson of the National Khoisan Council Cecil Le Flear. Picture: Danie van der Lith

The chairperson of the National Khoi-San Council, Cecil Le Flear, indicated that they are relieved that the government could help the Khoi-San community restore their dignity.

“A door has been opened for us to enter and express our wishes and inform the government what can be done for us. Our economic and social development challenges can be highlighted in these engagements,” said Le Flear.

The chairperson of the Northern Cape Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi Pelonomi Toto, also expressed relief that the act had finally come into effect and said the first engagements were fruitful.

She added that the long wait for the act to come into effect has been very challenging.