Sign language added as 12th official language

Sign language added as 12th official language

The National Assembly on Tuesday gave the green light for sign language to be included as an official language to promote the rights of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Sign Language

The constitution had previously provided for 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.

The adoption of the constitutional amendment on Tuesday will bring to 12 the number of official languages in South Africa, once the president signs the bill into law.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says the committee noted the opposing views expressed by a few commentators.

“Adoption of the bill could impact the scope and purpose of the reference to sign language in such legislation.

“Relevant departments administering those and related legislation should take note of this constitutional amendment recognising SASL as an official language in terms of section 6 of the Constitution and consider whether the adoption of the Bill may require a consequential amendment to associated legislation for purposes of clarifying the status of SASL as expressed in the constitution.”


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