Official Languages Bill passed in Bhisho

DECEMBER 2, 2016

The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature passed the Official Languages Bill during its House Sitting on Wednesday. This follows extensive engagement with communities & relevant stakeholders across the Province a few months ago.

The Bill seeks amongst others to provide for the regulation and monitoring of the use of official languages for government purposes in the Province. It further provides for the establishment and functions of a Provincial Language Unit and is also aimed to provide for the establishment and functions of language units by provincial departments, provincial public entities and provincial public enterprises.

The Use of Official Languages Bill also requires the adoption of a language policy and it will further help to facilitate intergovernmental co-ordination of language units in the Province.

The Bill states that every provincial department, provincial public entity and provincial government business enterprise must adopt a language policy regarding the use of official languages for government purposes consistent with the provincial language policy and this Act.

Honourable Thando Mpulu said; "The UDM supports the bill, however our view is that this bill can be realised when all departments have established institutionalised language units, this will have implications on human capital that must possess requisite skill to roll out its implementation. At the political level the application of this bill will restore dignity to the people of Eastern Cape by expressing their thoughts in a language that they are comfortable. As part of decolonisation program this bill can serve as catalyst to fast track transformation," he stated.    

“All languages spoken in this province must be reflective as they are spoken on communication of our government and this Legislature”, said Honourable Nomxolisi Mtitshana.

She also urged the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture to take active steps to accommodate sign language and braille for the blind.

The MEC for the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Honourable Pemmy Madjodina said language is an empowering tool to change the world. Language is used to propose new ideas.

“The official languages of the Province are isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English and Sesotho,” she added.

The Hon. MEC committed in ensuring that the Act will be fully implemented in consultation with all stakeholders and role players. All political parties were in favour of the Bill.