On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, representatives of the Griqua National Forum, the Khoi Heritage and Development Council, the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and Natural Justice released a collective statement. The statement recognises the historic denial of rights and degradation of Khoe and San culture experienced under colonialism and Apartheid. It notes the continued lack of formal recognition of Khoe and San customary communities and leadership post-Apartheid.
The declaration closes by embracing the recommendations of Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, which include:
- Indigenous communities should be recognized as such constitutionally in parity with the speakers of the 11 official languages;
- National framework legislation, as recommended in the Status Quo reports should be promptly enacted with the full participation of the indigenous communities;
- In the case of indigenous communities that were dispossessed of their lands during colonial era and discriminatory legislation or practice before the Native Land Act of 1913 positive legal and judicial action should be undertaken to enable these communities and legitimate claims for restitution within a wider perspective of human rights and transitional justice. Likewise the government is urged to provide the necessary resources and technical cooperation to these indigenous communities, enabling them to file claims;
- Official socio- economic statistics should be disaggregated to specify indigenous communities and special poverty relief and social services delivery programs should be designed to target indigenous communities within South Africa’s efforts to meet their Millennium Development Goals.