Public Protector hosts a webinar focusing on the use of official languages in the public administration
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, assisted by Deputy Public Protector, Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka, will on Monday, September 28, 2020, host a webinar focusing on issues affecting the use of official languages, including those of the Khoi and San communities, where matters of good governance are concerned.
During numerous interactions with the public as part of efforts to ensure that her office is accessible to all persons and communities in line with section 182(4) of the Constitution, Adv. Mkhwebane was met with allegations of prejudicial use of official languages in rendering public services. This includes engagements with the Khoi, San, !Xun and Khwe communities and disagreements over the medium of instruction in institutions of higher learning.
In terms of the Use of Official Languages Act 12 of 2012, every national department, public entity and public enterprise must adopt a language policy regarding the use of official languages for government purposes.
Any such policy must, among other things, identify at least three languages that national departments, public entities and public enterprises will use for government purposes; and stipulate how official languages will be used in effectively communicating with the public.
The Act aims to promote parity of esteem and equitable treatment of official languages of the republic, facilitate equitable access to services and information of national government and promote good language management by national government for efficient public service administration and to meet the needs of the public.
“The Use of Official Languages Act gives effect to section 6 of the Constitution, which recognises the country’s 11 official languages while also acknowledging the existence of others such as the Khoi, Nama, San languages, sign and more commonly used tongues of foreign origin,” said Adv. Mkhwebane.
“Sadly, it appears that this sound legal framework is not being fully implemented by most government departments as PanSALB’s 2019 Comprehensive Report on compliance with the Act tells us. This is precisely why the Public Protector intervenes to accelerate delivery of services and achievement of good governance.”
Participants will include Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Prof. Luka Masoma; member of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Hon. Nkosikazi Nobongo Ngonyama; Mr Boichoko Moremi from the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB), Mr David Letswalo from the University of South Africa and actress, author and cultural activist Ms. Florence Masebe.
The webinar, which forms part of the Public Protector South Africa commemoration of the Heritage Month, will be live-streamed on the institution’s YouTube channel. It will take place as follows:
Date : Monday, September 28, 2020
Time : 10:00 - 12:00
Platform : Zoom
Friday, September 25, 2020