South African Parliament Recommends That The South African Sign Language Be Given Official Status
The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) has acknowledged 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) of the South African Constitution 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 a 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.