Sign lan­guage may soon be­come of­fi­cial in SA

Daily News - - NEWS - ANA RE­PORTER

SIGN lan­guage could soon be­come South Africa’s 12th of­fi­cial lan­guage, as rec­om­mended by Par­lia­ment’s con­sti­tu­tional re­view com­mit­tee, the Pan South African Lan­guage Board (PanSALB) said yes­ter­day.

“The com­mit­tee is rec­om­mend­ing that sec­tion 6(1) and (5)(a) be amended to in­clude South African Sign Lan­guage as an of­fi­cial lan­guage,’’ said PanSALB chief ex­ec­u­tive Rak­wena Monareng.

“The com­mit­tee ac­cepted that the is­sue of ad­dress­ing the pro­posal for declar­ing SA sign lan­guage as an of­fi­cial lan­guage was long over­due. It is ex­pected that the nec­es­sary for­mal­i­ties should be made by Par­lia­ment to en­sure the amend­ment of the con­sti­tu­tion to ac­com­mo­date this.

“This is in­deed a pos­i­tive re­sponse, not only to the deaf com­mu­ni­ties, but also to the en­tire coun­try, par­tic­u­larly those who wish to study sign lan­guage.”

PanSALB is re­spon­si­ble for pro­mot­ing all South African lan­guages, in­clud­ing those used for re­li­gious pur­poses.

The coun­try has 11 of­fi­cial lan­guages.

Monareng said the com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion came at a cru­cial time – ahead of Deaf Month in Septem­ber.

“PanSALB be­lieves teach­ing SASL from school level will also reg­u­late and limit in­cor­rect sign lan­guage in­ter­preters, such as at the memo­rial ser­vice for for­mer pres­i­dent Man­dela in 2014. We be­lieve all lan­guages are equal, and should be given the recog­ni­tion, re­spect and pub­lic­ity they de­serve.

“PanSALB is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment to en­sure SASL be­comes a suc­cess and con­trib­utes to all ci­ti­zens and re­spects those liv­ing with a deaf in­ca­pac­ity.’’ – ANA

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