Khoi, San want recognition as first people of SA

Mpho Raborife, News24

Johannesburg - The Khoi and San community wants the government to amend the Constitution so that it acknowledges them as the first indigenous people of South Africa, the National Khoi and San Council said on Thursday.

"The preamble of the Constitution needs to say the Khoi people are the first people of South Africa," council member John van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen and other representatives of the coloured community across the country had a meeting in Johannesburg with ANC national executive committee members to discuss the issues affecting their communities.

Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan attended the meeting.

Mantashe said government's role was to build an inclusive nation, not to further entrench tribal divisions.

"We want to have an integrated nation, that's what we are working for... That's why the debate about the first, the second and the third, that is an academic debate.

"We need to build a nation and everybody must be included in that nation."

A number of issues were raised during the meeting, including better access to education, access to RDP housing, better access to economic opportunities and violence associated with coloured communities.

Van Rooyen said in some instances coloured people missed out on work and study opportunities because some government officials would tell them they were not black enough.

Mantashe said the African National Congress needed to deal with such matters head-on.

"Where there are issues of marginalisation, they must be brought to our attention, and we must deal with them, we must not run away from them.

"But the solution is not to create bantustans that are based on race and tribe. It can't work that way."

He said government would never succeed in satisfying all its citizens, but it was still required to meet the needs of its people.

"Things like the delivery of service is not about buying votes, but meeting the needs of people."