Assembly adopts languages bill

2012-08-07 21:53
Paul Mashatile (Sapa)

Paul Mashatile (Sapa)

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Cape Town - The use of official languages bill will make a massive contribution towards promoting multilingualism, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said on Tuesday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the bill, he said it was aimed at ensuring that the government elevated the status of especially indigenous languages and promoted their widespread use.

"We wish to reiterate that this bill is not aimed at diminishing the significance and use of any of the South African official languages.

"Through this bill we will promote equitable use of all official languages," he said.

The bill would enable South Africans to use the official languages of their choice in interacting with the government.

This would strengthen efforts to ensure equal access to government services and programmes.

Specifically, the bill sought to provide for regulating and monitoring the use of official languages by national government and public entities for official purposes.

It also provided for the establishment and functions of a national language unit and departmental languages units.

It applied to all national departments, national public entities, and national public enterprises, and obliged every national department to adopt a language policy on the use of languages for official purposes.

In terms of the bill, language policies by national departments should, among others, identify at least three official languages to be used for official purposes, Mashatile said.

The bill was approved without dissent and now goes to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

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