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Department of home affairs will soon boast a language unit

February 16, 2017 deur Marelie Greeff

AfriForum welcomes the undertaking by a representative of the department of home affairs, that this department will establish a language unit by the end of this quarter. The unit promises to implement the stipulations as stated in the Use of Official Languages Act, 12 of 2012 (the Act) and section six of the department’s language policy that was published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2016. According to this policy, all eleven of the country’s official languages form part of the language policy.

This undertaking was made today, on day 15 of the Pan South African Language Board’s (PanSALB) month of language activism. Seven days of this campaign was assigned to presentations made by national departments, national public institutions and national enterprises and where progress regarding the implementation of this Act was presented to the public.

The Act stipulates that all national departments, entities and public enterprises must have a language policy on the use of official languages. This policy must indicate how at least three official languages are used to effectively communicate with the public and a client mechanism must be implemented where the public can report language rights violations.

“It is heartening to see that the department of home affairs undertakes to honour their responsibility with regards to multilingualism,” says Annelise de Vries, language planning coordinator at AfriForum.

According to Sue-Ann de Wet, AfriForum’s project coordinator for the South African diaspora, the department said that the proposed language unit will enable them to handle all enquiries, requests and complaints in one of the official South African languages of the client’s choice.

AfriForum will keep a close eye on the progress made with the implementation of a language unit in the department.