The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) would like to acknowledge the positive step taken by the Constitutional Review Committee of Parliament to finally recommend that the South African Sign Language (SASL) be given an official status.
The committee is recommending that section 6 (1) and (5) (a) be amended to include 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.
This is indeed a positive response not only to Deaf communities but also to the entire country particularly to those who wish to study sign language.
“PanSALB is of the view that SASL like any other official language is a fundamental human right that should be treated equally. We have made several crucial calls to government to prioritise sign language like any other formal language and efforts have for a very long time drawn blank.
This was done on the basis that we believe it has been violated and marginalised as compared to other languages,” said the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rakwena Monareng.
The Pan South African Language Board (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 proceeding of the former state president Nelson Mandela in 2014.
“As it is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, we believe all languages are equal and that it should all be given the recognition, respect and publicity it deserves” added Dr Monareng.
PanSALB is unwavering that this positive response will also help the country in nurturing the unique heritage of multilingualism.
PanSALB is deeply humbled that the response also came at the right time, when the country will be commemorating the Deaf Awareness Month in September.
PanSALB as the institution that has been mandated to actively promote an awareness of multilingualism as a national resource and previously marginalised languages, believes responses such as this one, will assist us in monitoring the development and progress that has been made by government towards the implementation of the Use of South African Official Languages Act of 2012.
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 needy citizens and respects those living with a deaf incapacity in the country.
Source: Pan South African Language Board