Hearing management

Updated 20 September 2016

Language board supports deaf pupil

The language board has thrown its weight behind a KZN pupil who is taking the department of education to court to declare sign language an official examination subject.


"The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) will be taking a key interest in the case involving Kyle Springate, who is due to go back to the Pietermaritzburg High Court," said the board's chairman Professor Sihawu Ngubane.

PanSALB was cited as the fourth respondent in the case and it has made it clear that it will not oppose the application. The matter will be heard at Pietermaritzburg High Court on Wednesday.

"As a watchdog relating to linguistic human rights, we have taken a position that we are not going to defend such cases in the future because these types of applications will have a potential of compromising our independence.

"The Constitution has mandated this institution to inter alia, promote, and create conditions for, the development and use of all official languages, including sign language," said Ngubane.

Not an isolated case
It was unfortunate that it was not the mandate of PanSALB to grant languages official status as it fell within the ambits of Parliament which had the power to bestow official status on languages, he said.

Ngubane said the issue of sign language was not an isolated case where state institutions showed reluctance in promoting multilingualism.

"For instance, the failure by government departments and related institutions to develop language policies and implement multilingualism is living proof that the matter has been reduced to the periphery."

Ngubane said he was of the view that the issue of sign language could only be addressed by the passing of a national language framework act. – (Sapa, August 2009)

Read more:
What you see is what you hear


From our sponsor

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

AuD degree obtained in 2013 at AT Still University Health Science Depart-ment, Arizona. Masters in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria, 2003. Remedial Teaching Diploma at Rand University, 1996. Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, 1993. Owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. Educating the community regarding early identification of hearing problems and screening of new-borns. Providing assistance and services at retirement homes. Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. External examiner at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. Presenter at conferences and seminars.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules