FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
26 MAY 2022, PRETORIA
PanSALB WELCOMES APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL FOR SOUTH AFRICAN SIGN LANGUAGE TO BECOME AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) warmly welcomes Cabinet’s approval of the publication of the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment Bill for public comments to declare South African Sign Language (SASL) an official language in the country.
“South African Sign Language is the primary language of Deaf persons in South Africa that constitutes an important element of our country’s linguistic diversity and cultural heritage. The approval of the proposed bill amendment to Section 6 of the Constitution not only brings us closer to its officialisation, but also reaffirms the democratic right of Deaf persons to participate in public life using their own language”, said PanSALB CEO, Mr Lance Schultz.
“We must, as a country, develop cross-sectoral policies and programmes to improve the Deaf community’s access to quality information to also ensure the effective protection of their linguistic rights. The officialisation of SASL on its own, will not guarantee that the requisite changes are executed without the adoption and implementation of language policies and practices that consider the needs of the Deaf community” concluded Schultz.
The proposed bill amendment of Section 6 of the Constitution and the National Official Languages will be gazetted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for public comments to recognise South African Sign Language as the 12th official language of South Africa.