The Pan South African Language Board is established in terms of the Pan South African Language Board Act 59 of 1995 amended as PANSALB Amendment Act of 1999. The Board was established according to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa ( Act 106 of 1996) in order to:
(a) promote, and create conditions for the development and use of official languages v the khoe and San languages v sign language
(b) promote and ensure respect for all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, including German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telegu, and Urdu and; Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa
The Board shall in the manner prescribed by the Board by notice in the Gazette and the Provincial Gazette establish:
(a) a provincial language committee in each province to advise it on any language matter in or affecting any province or any part thereof where no such provincial committee exists or where an existing provincial language committee has jurisdiction only with respect to the official languages of a particular province: Provided that if a provincial language committee exists in a particular province, and such a committee is, in the view of the Board sufficiently
representative of the languages used in the province, that committee shall be deemed to have been established in terms of this subsection for as long as it remains representative.
(b) a national language body to advise it on any particular language, sign language or augmentative and alternative
communication, in the case where no such language body exists or where an existing language body does not serve its purpose: Provided that if such a body exists, it shall be deemed to have been established in terms of this subsection.
(c) [national lexicographic] units to operate as companies limited by guarantee under section 21 of the Companies Act, 1973 (Act No. 61 of 1973) and shall allocate funds to the units for the fulfillment of their functions: Provided that the memorandum and articles of association of such units shall include the following principles:
(i) The unit is accountable to the Board for the moneys allocated to it. (ii) The unit shall abide by the policies of the Board (iii) The unit shall adhere to the principles of promoting language development.
Another of PanSALB’s focus areas is that of lexicography and terminology development. Nine National Lexicography Units were registered in 2001, their task being to compile monolingual explanatory dictionaries and other products to help with language development. The Afrikaans, English, isiZulu, and isiXhosa units have published a number of volumes of their monolingual dictionaries. The Tshivenda Lexicography Unit, based at the University of Venda, launched the world’s first Tshivenda dictionary in July 2004, and said it expected to publish the final draft in 2006 or 2007. The lexicography units are based at tertiary institutions throughout South Africa. Each unit is managed by a board of directors and registered as a Section 21 (not-for-profit) company, which allows the unit autonomy to raise funds to carry on its work.