Sign language may soon become official in SA
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