Khoisan community members, which have been in a live-in protest for months at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, on Friday said they feel betrayed by the African National Congress (ANC) government, and would not vote for the governing party in the upcoming May 8 general elections.
A dejected leader of the Khoisan group, Chief Khoisan SA spoke to journalists in the lawns area of the Union Buildings, where his small group has camped for months in tents — just meters from the towering statue of former president Nelson Mandela.
“From today until Sunday we are planning a unified meeting with participants from all various provinces who will be coming together. These are Khoisan leadership, people from other communities as well as people from the traditional leadership. We will be coming together this weekend,” he said.
“The main aim for this weekend is to discuss issues, to put more pressure on government as a collective group. We will be discussing issues like the Khoisan Traditional Bill [the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill] that was rejected by the people but yet the government sees it fit to pass it through Parliament as well as the NCOP (National Council of Provinces).”
He said if President Cyril Ramaphosa signs the Bill, which was approved by the National Assembly in February, the government would be taken to court.
After the final passing of the Bill by the National Assembly in February, it was then referred to Ramaphosa for his assent.
“As the election is coming next week, we will also be discussing what our participation will be, who are we going to tell our people to vote for. Surely, it will not be the ANC government. We have made it clear that the government did not adhere to its promise it gave. In 2017 we were clear when we gave them the four demands which are the first nation status and rights, the issue of our language to be official, the land issue as well as the scrapping of the coloured identity,” said Chief Khoisan SA.
“We will also be discussing in depth self-determination as well as government. We declared in January that we will start self-governing as well as self-determination. That will be part of the discussion throughout this weekend. From there we will reach a consensus and give a report to government.”
The Khoisan leader said his group has been camped at the Union Buildings for five months.
“We will not move until we have concrete evidence from government that the demands that we have put forward are being implemented.”
He said his small group, which includes young children and women, has not been getting any support from government.
The Khoisan community members returned to the Union Buildings in November, after walking from distant cities including Port Elizabeth and Durban. They have been begging for another engagement with Ramaphosa.
In 2017, on Christmas eve, Ramaphosa — who was deputy president at the time — met the Khoisan community members who had been on a hunger strike at the seat of government.
For weeks, the group had been appealing to then president Jacob Zuma to receive their memorandum of demands.
They also went to the ANC elective conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, but were blocked from entering the venue.
– African News Agency (ANA)