The Guard

The Truth On Board

Khoisan leaders bemoan being left out

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – Soon after the official opening of the Provincial House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, Michael Links immediately expressed his frustration with the length of time it is taking the government to reinstate the traditional leadership status of the Khoisan community.

A grandson of Gert Gariep Links, Michael Links shared his frustrations with The Guard in an interview after the official opening of the Provincial House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders that was held in the council chamber of the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality (TMDM) municipal building on March 1.

“I am from the lefthand standing Royal House left in the Korana in Bethlehem; my council is all over. I’m heading councils in KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Gauteng, but I’m basically based here in the Free State.

“When I go to the Western Cape, I get recognition from the local government organs but in Thabo Mofutsanyana I don’t receive the same respect. At a public hearing an MMC to COGTA in Bethlehem publicly said that ‘This is not a King’ and it is very insulting.

“This person doesn’t have a clue or knowledge to assess kingship; he doesn’t understand that. The government is taking long to reinstate what the apartheid government destroyed,” Links fumed.

The government is busy with official investigations to determine the legitimacy of the claims made by the Khoisan to be reinstated as traditional leaders and kings.

But, according to Links, this process is taking far too long and it is very painful when it is their own people who are perpetrating the same crimes as the apartheid government because now they are unable to access the benefits that the government offers traditional leaders and royal houses that are legitimately recognized in the Free State.

Michael Links leader/king of the Korana Khoisan community.

In his speech, Free State premier Mxolisi Dukwana said there are only five traditional communities that are currently recognized, and they are namely, Bakoena ba Mopeli under Morena e Moholo Moremoholo Mopeli; Batlokoa ba Mota under Morena e Moholo Montoeli Mota; Barolong boo Seleka under Kgosi Gaboilelwe Moroka; Makholokoe under Morena Paulus Moloi and Batlokwa ba Mokgalong under Kgosi Nkgahle Tsotetsi.

Dukwana said, “As the Free State government we share the sentiments of President Cyril Ramaphosa who during his address in the National House of Traditional and Khoisan leaders said: ‘We do of course, wish that more of our Khoisan leaders are brought into the fold, and are formally recognized under the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act.

The process of recognizing the Khoisan leaders is taking longer than was initially envisaged, but it is my humble appeal that we allow the Commission the space to continue with this complex, historical mission that they have been assigned’.