Mind your language, South African Airways is told

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Mar 14 13:33:00 UTC 2006

Mind your language, SAA is told
By Phomello Molwedi

South African Airways has been taken to task over its language policy on
domestic flights. The Commission for the Rights of Cultural, Religious and
Linguistic Communities has asked SAA to furnish the commission with its
language policy and any information regarding its intent on the use of the
country's 11 official languages. This follows a complaint by members of
the public who travelled on a recent SAA flight from Johannesburg to Cape

According to commission spokesperson Sibusiso Nkosi, the complaint said
the announcements were made mainly in English, French "and a language that
sounded like Chinese". "Our constitution enjoins us to seek opportunities
to advance the use of (all 11 official) languages," Nkosi added. In a
letter to SAA, commission chairperson Dr Mongezi Guma said they were
particularly worried that indigenous languages were being ignored. An SAA
spokesperson said it was the company's policy that all announcements and
safety instructions were made in English.

"SAA is in the process of translating and recording the announcements into
various languages for use on the regional and international routes on
aircraft that are equipped with prerecorded announcement facilities."


phomello.molwedi at inl.co.za

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on March 13,

 Independent Online 2005.

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