The Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, has welcomed the announcement of the decision by the National Assembly to adopt a bill to declare South African Sign Language (SASL) as the 12th official language of South Africa.
The bill has been transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence after which it will be sent to the President to sign into law. The bill creates standard conditions for the advancement of SASL and raising awareness around the needs of the deaf.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) has worked consistently to ensure that SASL is promoted and supported throughout the province. Through the Language Services Unit, DCAS offers procurement services of sign language interpreters to ensure that all government departments can easily appoint these interpreters for assistance at events. In 2022, the department also hosted the Cultural Affairs Awards with a deaf Master of Ceremonies for the first time. This ensured that the awards ceremony was truly inclusive for all those present.
Minister Marais said: “I am very happy that SASL will soon been awarded the status of an official language. My department has worked tirelessly to ensure that members of the deaf community can access services and this is an important next step in ensuring that we do not marginalise any deaf person in our society. We must ensure that we live out the culture of a fully inclusive society, where no person is excluded due to the language they communicate in.”
The department will continue working closely with organisations such as DeafSA to ensure that SASL can grow and develop and that it is promoted in the province.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic Of South Africa: Western Cape Provincial Government.