MULTILINGUALISM: MEC Xoliswa Tom at the Language Policy launch. Picture: SITHANDIWE VELAPHI
Xoliswa Tom, MEC for sport, recreation, arts and culture, says the Eastern Cape language policy launched last week at Grahamstown’s Settlers Monument will promote adherence to constitutional provisions and requirements regarding language.
The Eastern Cape’s provincial language policy identifies isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English and Sesotho as the official languages of the province.
The policy makes provision for the development of Khoisan and sign languages.
“This document is in spirit with Section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which provides a primary legal framework for multilingualism and the promotion of respect and tolerance for South Africa’s linguistic diversity,” said Tom.
The document puts emphasis on the equality of access to government services and to knowledge and information. It further provides for the department having a unit to translate government documents into the province’s official languages
The key elements are the promotion and protection of linguistic and cultural rights, entrenchment of language equity and language rights, promotion of multilingualism as a resource and redressing the marginalisation of the country’s indigenous languages. The document obligates the government to develop human capacity in regards to training translators, interpreters and editors.
Tom said capacity development of African languages would lead to the promotion of their economic value “especially by developing them into instruments of access to material rewards such as employment and training”.
“We shall continue to support the role of languages as instruments of human rights and cultural identity,” she said.