By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA – The Khoisan community nearly lost an important opportunity after they were misunderstood to be rejecting the amendment of a bill aiming to enable their inclusion in the provincial house of traditional leaders, but this was later rectified.
Paramount chief Henry Venter from the Link royal house says they never rejected the bill in its entirety but had reservations about a certain clause, hence they were misunderstood to be rejecting the bill.
“There was a misunderstanding because what we said was, we congratulate the province for the work they have done to get the bill amended, but there were certain things that needed to be changed that were discriminative to us and our nation.
“We asked our government to look at certain issues that concern the Khoisan because there was nowhere where it recognized the Khoisan as a traditional community, and that was unfair to us.
“If we are not traditional leaders, why did they invite us to make inputs here? Secondly, we also argued that nothing had been spelt out regarding us and our traditional leadership. Up until now the commission is doing its investigation.”
Venter’s submission came after the chairperson of cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee Sam Mashinini made them aware of the implications of their decision to reject the amendment of the bill.
“The amendment of the bill is a response from the provincial government to the plea made by the Khoisan people that they want to be included in the provincial house traditional leaders, like other traditional leaders.
Paramount Chief Henry Venter.
“This is an opportunity to accommodate you and if you decide to reject it, we will take it as your decision and there is nothing we can do about that. We are here to take your contributions not to make decisions for you. There are machines here and everything is being recorded,” Mashinini warned.
Subsequently, other traditional leaders changed their stance and threw their weight behind the amendment of the bill to provide for the recognition of representation of the Khoisan communities and leaders in the Free State House of Traditional Leaders.
Fellow members of the portfolio committee Sarah Moleleki and Montseng Tsiu also expressed disbelief that the Khoisan nearly rejected the opportunity of being included in the provincial house of traditional leaders.