FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
15 JULY 2022, PRETORIA
Linguistic Human Rights Complaints Case Settled: Ms Jo-Anne Reyneke vs Deaf community
Following a Tik Tok video that mocked the South African Sign Language Interpreters published on 13 May 2022, by a well-known actress, Jo-Anne Rayneke, the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) would like to share with the public that the matter was investigated and mediated successfully by the Gauteng Provincial Language Committee and the South African Sign Language National Language Body which are the advisory structures of PanSALB.
This critical linguistic human right violation case was reported to PanSALB by members of the Deaf community who strongly felt that deaf communities and individuals living with deaf disability continue being marginalized and disrespected in society. PanSALB had constructive engagements with Ms Reyneke’s management team to seek recourse and remedial action to settle the matter as it not only painted a gloomy picture to the interpretation profession, but also undermined the Constitutional rights of Deaf persons to access to quality information.
“We have seen an increase in cases like this over the last couple of years, where social media has been used to make a mockery of the use of sign language. Such incidents are not only damaging to the Deaf community but also undermine the critical role that Sign Language Interpreters play in bridging the communication gap that exists between the Deaf community and the hearing” said PanSALB Chief Executive Officer of PanSALB, Mr Lance Schultz.
“We implore all South Africans to remain respectful and to always err on the side of caution and tolerance towards one another to avoid infringing the linguistic rights of our fellow citizens. PanSALB implores anyone who feels aggrieved on any language-related matter to contact us and we will ensure that your linguistic human right, your right to a language and a right of a language to exist and be used as guaranteed by the Constitution, is protected” concluded Schultz.
Ms Jo-Anne Reyneke has written a formal apology to the Deaf community which she shared on her social media accounts and with PanSALB, which was acknowledged and accepted. With the acknowledgement that the Tik-Tok video Ms Reyneke shared was a linguistic human rights violation against the Deaf community, the offensive video was subsequently removed from her social media accounts. Following these remedial actions, PanSALB issued a letter of intent to the defendant to close the Linguistic Human Rights Violation case on 07 July 2022.
The Pan South African Language Board is established in terms of the PanSALB Act 59 of 1995 To provide for the recognition, implementation, and furtherance of multilingualism in the Republic of South Africa and the development of previously marginalised languages.