Dissolution of Pansalb a blow to language rights - AfriForum

2016-01-15 11:35

Johannesburg - The dissolution of the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb) is proof of the ANC’s disrespect for language rights, civil rights group AfriForum said on Friday.

Had Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa been serious about Pansalb’s role in promoting multilingualism, he would have supported the efforts of its board, AfriForum Deputy CEO Alana Bailey said in a statement.

Mthethwa on Wednesday announced Pansalb’s dissolution, saying the country needed a clean slate to begin promoting multilingualism.

Bailey said the organisation had descended into dysfunction, with allegations of financial mismanagement, cadre deployment, a lack of transparency and accountability, and long periods without a board. 

"The effort to investigate these issues by the recently-appointed board, which has now been dissolved, seems to have been swept under the carpet now."

She said AfriForum had submitted numerous complaints regarding language rights violations to Pansalb, without receiving any response. She said it had turned into a white elephant. 

Pansalb was established in 1995 to protect the language rights of all South Africans.

Instead of protecting and promoting language rights, it had only served to employ a large number of people. Civil society had to take responsibility for the future of South African languages, she said.

Mthethwa said there had been no common understanding between his department and the board on the its strategic role. It had failed to show "sufficient leadership", despite interventions by the department and the parliamentary portfolio committee on arts and culture.

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