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Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela meets Khoi San traditional leaders

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The recognition of the Khoi and San people in South Africa remains a burning issue as they say they are still discriminated against. Land acquisition is also a topic that traditional leaders across the Free State want to be addressed urgently.

Premier Sisi Ntombela met with traditional and Khoi San leaders in Bloemfontein on Wednesday to discuss a wide range of issues affecting them. This meeting was a follow-up to a visit by Deputy President David Mabuza last week.

The Khoi-San traditional leaders are now recognised in the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders. But for all the Khoi-San people to be identified as such, they have to lodge a claim on a national register. It is only after this process that they will receive recognition.

This process is expected to take years. Deputy chairperson of the Khoi and San Council, Anthony Peterson says the process to validate all the Khoi and the San people is one that is painful to them as they have to follow a process that will put them under scrutiny. He has called on government to move with speed.

“You know the problem is there was a finding by the human rights commission on the issue of recognising the Khoi and San people and the government was found to be wanting in that regard. Meaning there is still discrimination taking place. And they had made certain recommendations to the different government departments on how they should address this thing and nothing is coming from government,” says Peterson.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC in the Free State, Mxolisi Dukwana says they will make land available to traditional and Khoi-San leaders.

“Up until we have addressed the recognition of the Khoi and the San whilst we have the act, but we have to deal with a number of issues, part is the acquisition of land for these communities to have land that they call their own. And we know what history has done to them,” says Dukwana.

Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform, Mcebisi Skwatsha has admitted that the process to recognise the Khoi and San people will be long but says that much has been achieved.

“That is definitely the challenge, establishing the communities, establishing who really is so that Mcebisi Skwatsha does not wake up tomorrow and say I am part of the Khoi and San people. But also speaking about accommodating them with the sites, they have raised so many things,” says Skwatsha.

Skwatsha says they are committed to giving land to those to that it belongs.

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