Push to make sign SA’s 12th lan­guage

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS -

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 (SASL) as an of­fi­cial lan­guage. The com­mit­tee ac­cepted the fact that the is­sue of ad­dress­ing the pro­posal for declar­ing SASL 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,” said PanSALB chief ex­ec­u­tive Rak­wena Monareng.

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

PanSALB is re­spon­si­ble for pro­mot­ing all South African lan­guages, in­clud­ing those used for re­li­gious pur­poses. Monareng said the com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion came at a cru­cial time ahead of Deaf Month in Septem­ber. The de­ci­sion could help stop in­cor­rect sign lan­guage in­ter­preters if im­ple­mented.

“PanSALB be­lieves teach­ing SASL from school level will also reg­u­late and limit chal­lenges of in­cor­rect sign lan­guage in­ter­preters, such as the one at the memo­rial ser­vice of the for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela in 2014.

“As it is en­shrined in the con­sti­tu­tion, we be­lieve all lan­guages are equal and all should be given the recog­ni­tion, re­spect and pub­lic­ity they de­serve.

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

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