The South African National Parks (SANParks) is allowing a collective of tribes and organisations belonging to the Khoe and /Xam indigenous nations to occupy a site in Cecilia Forest on Table Mountain with an aim to come to an amicable resolution.
SANParks received reports that about six people had erected structures in a section of Cecilia Forest on 24 October. A land invasion complaint was then lodged at the Wynberg police station.
In a Cape Argus article, tribe member Shaun (|khaeb) Macdonald said the occupation was protected by international law, namely the Aboriginal Title and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was officially adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007. The Aboriginal Title is the intrinsic right for indigenous people to have land.
Macdonald said: “Hoerikwaggo, now known as Table Mountain, has a strong spiritual link to our people, and we are occupying the mountain to create a space where we can yet again learn and practice our culture, traditions and language in the same spaces our ancestors did.”
The tribes occupying the site are from the Cochoqua, Goringhaiqua, Goringhaicona and the Gorachouqua, who aim to reclaim the mountain for the Khoi and San indigenous people and restore the Khoina Kingdom. They have since written to the Minister of Environment, Forest and Fisheries.
In an interview with Cape Talk on Monday, SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said there has been no land claims in Cecilia Forest.
“We are taking the matter with these people on a daily basis. We have other national parks that have gone through this process and their issues were sorted out somehow,” he said.
Thakhuli said there are still people occupying the area, but the structures that were erected have been demolished.
“We allow them to be there during the day, but of course we wouldn’t allow them to set up fires and we are not allowing them to be there throughout the evening,” he said.