[lg policy] DAC's language policy

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Apr 12 12:09:59 EDT 2019

DAC's language policy weak and unimaginative – CUD
Megan Dick |
10 April 2019
Centre says Dept has effectively presented its 2014 policy, to the letter

*Department of Arts and Culture invites comments on its language policy*

*10 April 2019*

The Centre for Unity in Diversity (CUD) has responded to the Department of
Arts and Culture’s  (DAC) call for comments on its proposed and
reviewed Official
Language Policy as an important contribution to the promotion of language
rights for all South Africans.

The right of all 11 languages to be given parity of esteem and equitable
treatment is given effect in the Founding Provisions of the Constitution,
as well as the Use of Official Languages Act, 12 of 2012, which was
promulgated “To provide for the regulation and monitoring of the use of
official languages by national government for government purposes”, i.e. to
enable access to goods and services by South Africans from government
without language being an impediment.

The DAC has a mandate that includes a responsibility for the promotion of
arts, culture, heritage and language to build a socially-cohesive society.
Additionally, the DAC has the responsibility for oversight and management
of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), whose mission is to
create the conditions and promote languages used in South Africa, both
official ones, sign language, and others in use. In the light of this, one
might make a safe assumption that the language policy of DAC would be
robust, pro-active and enabling.

Unfortunately, it is not.

In a call for comments on its proposed and reviewed Official Language Policy on
8 March 2019, the DAC has effectively presented its 2014 policy, to the
letter. It remains a weak and an unimaginative document, devoid of
substance and practicable action.

In its recommendations to the DAC, the CUD has emphasised that neglect of
any of the languages, especially in the work of government departments,
risks failure in communication and information, even failure to access
much-needed goods and services. Cogent language polices in government
departments, that are effective in practice, are an aid to inclusive and
responsive government and governance. The DAC must be a leader amongst
government departments in the effective implementation of the Use of
Official Languages Act, 12 of 2012.

Its call for comments on its language policy must ensure follow-up and
robust action.

*Issued by Megan Dick, Communications and Marketing Manager, Centre for
Unity in Diversity, 10 April 2019*


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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