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Hearings on Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill conclude in Port Elizabeth

Dec 9, 2016
Hearings on Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill conclude in Port Elizabeth

Nelson Mandela Bay residents will on Friday have their opportunity to make inputs on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill, during the public hearings to be held in Port Elizabeth at the Gelvandale Community Hall from 10 am.

Port Elizabeth is the fourth and last area to be visited by the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the Eastern Cape. The other areas that were visited in the Eastern Cape were Mthatha, East London and Graaff-Reinet.

The Eastern Cape is the third and last province to be visited this year. The Committee started this process on 24 November 2016 and visited Northern Cape and Western Cape and has scheduled to visit the other remaining provinces early in 2017. 

The Committee started this nationwide process in the Northern Cape last week and is currently in the Western Cape. These provinces, together with Eastern Cape, are the first provinces to be visited. Hearings in the remaining provinces will resume in 2017.

The Bill provides for, among other things, statutory recognition of the legitimate Khoi-San leadership and communities. It has been in the legislative pipeline since 1997. The Committee believes the time is ripe now for members of the public to input into this critical draft legislation and calls on residents to attend these hearings and make their voices heard.

The Bill also provides for integrating recognised Khoi-San leaders into existing houses of traditional leadership and doing away with separate structures for the Khoi-San. These will then be called houses of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders.

The recognition provisions contained in the Bill do not elevate the Khoi-San communities and leaders to a higher status than other traditional communities and leaders or grant any special status to them. Instead recognised Khoi-San traditional leaders will, in respect of their recognised communities, perform the same functions as the currently recognised senior traditional leaders. This is to avoid a potentially divisive hierarchy among South African communities as occurred under the colonial and apartheid regimes.

Furthermore, the Bill makes provision for a comprehensive Code of Conduct for all recognised traditional leaders, from the National House, provincial houses and local houses of traditional and Khoi-San leaders, to kingship or queenship councils, principal traditional councils, traditional councils, traditional sub-councils, and Khoi-San councils and branches.

image: www.gamtkwa.org.za