AfriForum: Nurse language rights

2013-04-11 20:15

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Johannesburg - The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) needs to make the judiciary more aware of language rights, lobby group AfriForum said on Thursday.

"Judges should ask for South African courts to operate multi-lingually, and not for one language only to be used as [a] matter of convenience," said AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey.

"The argument that most South Africans understand English amounts to a disregard for the rights of minorities, which is contradictory to the spirit of the Constitution."

AfriForum was reacting to reports that Judge Cynthia Pretorius, a candidate for deputy judge president of the north Gauteng division, said English should be the court language of South Africa.

Pretorius reportedly said everyone should have to use English as the medium in court because it was most people's second language and everyone shared it.

She described an incident where former judge president Bernard Ngoepe had to go through three judges before he found someone who could deal with an appeal of a case, which had been argued in one of the vernacular languages.

Bailey said sections six and nine of the Constitution, and the Use of Official Languages Act, emphasised that all official languages of South Africa should be treated equitably and that people should be empowered in their respective home languages.

Read more on:    jsc  |  afriforum  |  johannesburg

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