Sign Language should be 12th official language - DeafSA

2016-08-19 17:55
Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Sign language and Khilovedu should be made the country’s 12th and 13th official languages, according to submissions before Parliament's Constitution review committee.

African National Congress MP Mathole Motshekga argued for the inclusion of Khilovedu in Section 6 of Chapter 1 of the Constitution, saying it was not a dialect of Sotho or Venda, but an independent language used by a tribe which settled in the country in the 1600s.

The committee met on Friday to discuss various amendment suggestions from members of the public.

The submissions for Khilovedu and South African Sign Language were made separately by the Holy Faith Mission Evangelical Church and the Deaf Federation of SA.

The submissions were part of 13 outstanding issues not addressed by the fourth Parliament, and carried over to the fifth. They were taken under review and would be discussed at length with 2015 and 2016 public submissions in September.

Anti-corruption commission

Another issue involved the establishment of an anti-corruption commission as a Chapter 9 Institution.

It was made by the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, which wanted it to have similar legal standing as the Public Protector. The institute also suggested a reform of the Judicial Service Commission.

MPs agreed that such a big issue warranted deeper discussions - and a decision couldn't be made in one sitting - and in isolation from consideration of the rest of the Constitution. It would be discussed with other submissions to be heard in September.

Other public submissions discussed included the rights of homeowners to kill intruders in self-defence, the transformation of the SABC into a Chapter 9 institution, and a disapproval of the rights of inmates.

The committee dismissed most submissions for either not falling under a constitutional mandate, not being specific enough, or being clearly opposed to Constitutional principles, as was the case for inmates’ rights.

Existing legislation covered other dismissed submissions, such as homeowners’ rights.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart pleaded with the committee and the public to ensure that submissions were relevant and had genuine amendment suggestions when presented to Parliament.

“It's a waste of time and money otherwise,” he said.

The joint committee will reconvene next Friday, and again on September 9, for the final two meetings of the third term of 2016.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2016

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