Friday, 17 September 2010 13:20

High Court action threat on Khoisan military issue Featured

Written by Luyolo Mkentane - The Herald
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A LEGAL storm is brewing in the Khoisan community about the integration of the “military wing” of the self-proclaimed Khoisan Kingdom into the SA National Defence Force.

The “kingdom” claimed it had tried to engage the defence force on the issue numerous times, but the SANDF was reluctant to engage with it.

Stanley Matthee, who describes himself as commander of the Khoisan Kingdom Self Defence Unit, was in Rosedale, Uitenhage, at the weekend for the tribe’s awareness campaign, at which DNA tests were conducted so that “our people get to know their genetic status”.

Matthee is also the founder of the Khoisan Kingdom Political Party. He said he was taking the SANDF to the North Gauteng High Court on September 27, regarding what he termed the exclusion of Khoisan from the national army. “The military wing of the Khoisan Kingdom was disbanded by the government between 1994 and 2001,” Matthee said.

He felt it unjust that the Khoisan military wing had been disbanded, while uMkhonto weSizwe and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) had been allowed to operate in that time.

“When the (democratic) government came into power in 1994 it formed the SANDF and all the members of the (old) army were integrated into it. Section 200 of the Constitution defines the formation of the SANDF, but we were never featured on that formation,” Matthee said.

He wanted his people to know it was their “cultural right” to be in the SANDF. Their engagement with the government was an “ongoing process”.

The core function of the tribe’s defence unit, he said, was to make sure the Khoisan leadership was protected.

“We are not there to replace the SANDF, but we want to work with them and take responsibility in policing the country’s borders and make sure people are safe in the country.”

In Pretoria yesterday, Defence Department communications head Sipiwe Dlamini said he was aware of the integration issue regarding the Khoisan.

However, he said: “These forces had to present us with a list of their members and all of them were integrated into the SANDF, but the integration period was closed by Parliament in December 2003.”

This article originally published in The Herald

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