New bill to protect Khoi-San

HERITAGE: President Jacob Zuma and King Adam Kok V at a ceremony in Cape Town yesterday.
HERITAGE: President Jacob Zuma and King Adam Kok V at a ceremony in Cape Town yesterday.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma announced yesterday that a bill to recognise and protect indigenous Khoi-San people would be finalised next month.

South Africa was "conscious of the need to improve the economic, social and cultural situation of indigenous people," Zuma said in Cape Town.

He said the Department of Traditional Affairs was processing the new National Traditional Affairs Bill, which provided for the recognition of Khoi-San communities, leaders and councils.

"It provides for representation in houses of traditional leaders and the participation of Khoi-San leaders in municipal councils," he said.

The bill also provided for the establishment of an advisory committee which would investigate and make recommendations on the recognition of Khoi-San communities and leaders. Zuma said last month's three-day discussions on the bill with the National Khoi-San Council would be followed by an extensive community programme.

"The intention is to introduce the bill into Parliament towards the end of this year. The consultations will consist of 29 sessions which will commence on August 20 and should be finalised on September 16. We know that the Khoi-San communities are unhappy that the process has taken longer than it should have."

The government started the process of promoting and protecting the Khoi-San people's rights in 2004.

Zuma encouraged the Griqua Royal House and the broader Khoi-San communities to help ensure "that this legislation does achieve the intended objectives".

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