Indigenous groups welcome new act

Secretary of the National Khoi & San Council, Frans Kraalshoek, described the commencement of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act as a long awaited breakthrough.

The commencement of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act on 1 April 2021 is described as a breakthrough for the indigenous community. According to Secretary of the National Khoi & San Council, Frans Kraalshoek from Bloemfontein, after a hundreds of years of marginalisation, the long sought-after act is a step in the right direction.

“This is a historical breakthrough for the indigenous people of South Africa, in particular the Griqua, Nama, San, Cape Khoi and the Korana. Those are the five groupings that will be recognised under this act. This is truly the first of its kind in our country. Never in South African history has there ever been an act to recognise these communities since the 18th century,” said Kraalshoek.

According to the Government Gazette, the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act is set to take effect later this year after it was approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 2 December 2020. “Under Section 66 of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act, 2019 (Act No. 3 of 2019), I hereby determine 1 April 2021 as the date on which the said act shall come into operation,” it read.

Kraalshoek expressed that the enactment shows that efforts of previous and current indigenous leaders have not been in vain, although many of them are not around to witness it.

“In 1996 the late President Nelson Mandela constituted the National Khoi & San Council in order to take this matter up for constitutional accommodation of indigenous groups. So it’s almost been 24 years that we have been struggling with this and many of our traditional leaders who were part of the struggle have long passed. Only Captain Johannes Kraalshoek from Bloemfontein, at the age of 88, is here to witness this historical event,” he explained.

The secretary also expressed that the act will give them a legal leg to stand on in enforcing their rights and practices in the same way as other traditional leaders across the country. “Our ancestors would not be happy with the losses we’ve experienced in our country.

Now, we can negotiate and speak for ourselves because previously when different traditional leaders came together we could only contribute as guests with other people speaking on our behalf,” Kraalshoek concluded.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele