FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 July 2023, PRETORIA
PanSALB WELCOMES OFFICIALISATION OF SOUTH AFRICAN SIGN LANGUAGE
Today, 19 July 2023, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa will officially sign into law the addition of South African Sign Language as an official language of the country. This follows the passing of the Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill by unanimous vote to add South African Sign Language as an official language.
This is a significant milestone for our constitutional democracy which guarantees in its founding provisions human dignity, equality, and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. In the Preamble, the Constitution guarantees the improvement of the quality of life of all citizens and freeing the potential of each person. The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) believes that this achievement further validates and solidifies South African Sign Language as a language resource for unleashing the potential of the Deaf community at large. This also presents an opportunity for ordinary South Africans to learn South African Sign Language to bridge the vast gap that exists between the hearing and the Deaf community.
The effective implementation of South African Sign Language as an official language in the country will require cross-sectoral resources that will incorporate appropriate interventions such as ensuring that all Deaf children have access to quality early childhood development, care, and education through South African Sign Language; and provisions for the training of family members in South African Sign Language to be able to communicate with their children. “A holistic view of implementing South African Sign Language as an official language is necessary for the bill to have a meaningful impact on the lives of the Deaf community. PanSALB published the South African Sign Language Charter on 04 September 2020 which contains nine key pledges that should serve as a framework to promote the fair and courteous treatment of the Deaf and should be adopted by all spheres of government and civil society” said PanSALB CEO Mr Lance Schultz.
PanSALB is conducting national and provincial workshops on the South African Sign Language Charter and is already monitoring the use of SASL within the public service.
Released on behalf of PanSALB: Ntombentle Huluhulu
Head: Marketing and Communication
Mobile: 061 581 5216