South Africa's Minister for Bantu Affairs, Mr. Michiel Botha, formally inaugurated the Legislative Council of?
South Africa's Minister for Bantu Affairs, Mr. Michiel Botha, formally inaugurated the Legislative Council of Kavango, at Rundu in South-West Africa last week. Rundu is the capital of the territory which is situated on the Angolan border and is the second South West African bantu homeland to be granted a measure of self-rule in the past two years. South-West Africa, also known as Namibia, is a former United Nations trusteeship territory which is still controlled by South Africa in defiance of General Assembly resolutions.
The first territory to be granted limited self rule was Ovamboland, west of Kavango. The new homeland extends along the Okavango River for about 300 miles (480 kms). The population of the territory is approximately 50,000 consisting of five tribes.
Due to its strategic situation on the Angola border the territory has been one of the targets of freedom fighters infiltrating from the north.
The territory's capital, Rundu is a hive of activity at the moment with numerous new buildings under construction to accommodate Kavango government officials. In just a few months the population of Rundu has jumped from a few hundred to more than two thousand. Apart from homes for the administration, facilities such as public offices, court rooms, assembly halls and rest rooms have been provided. Trade is flourishing and new churches, shops, clinics, hospitals and educational facilities are being provided.
The Chief Councillor of Kavango, Mr. L. Shashipapo, is one of the officials to have recently moved into a new home.
The Legislative council forms the basis of the Kavango Government and is constituted on a federal basis so that each of the five tribes retains its autonomy. Each of the five tribes is represented on the council by six delegates. The individual tribal delegations operate as a unit and have on vote on the council. The system of Government draws on the traditional pattern of organisation in Kavango.
The Kavango Government service consists of five State Departments headed by Kavango councillors and a chief councillor -- the "prime minister". the departments are: Authority affairs and finance, agriculture, works, justice and community affairs, and education and culture.
At the handover ceremony, a crowd of about 10,000 tribespeople heard an inauguration speech by Mr. Botha. The leaders of the Kavango community were "gowned" at the ceremony. Among them was Dr. Hermanus Kampungo, the "speaker" or Chairman of the Legislative Council. The mace, traditional symbol of office crowned by a golden eagle was presented to the council.
On Thursday (October 22) the first session of the new council was officially opened by the Minister of Bantu affairs, Mr. Botha. Thousands of tribespeople lined the route to the council chamber and watched a procession of officials and citizens. Mr. Botha inspected a police guard of honour before going into the chamber to wish the new assembly well for the future.
The Chief Councillor, Mr. Shashipapo, expressed the hope that other countries will acknowledge the Kavango people's right to govern themselves and to determine their own future.