Hearing management

Updated 06 December 2017

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)


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Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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