Pretoria - All South African official languages, including sign language, have been incorporated into the City of Tshwane's language policy in an endeavour to uphold the rights of all residents living in the municipality.
This was a stance taken by council following a report tabled during a meeting seeking to have other languages spoken in Tshwane included in the metro’s language policy.
DA councillor Hendrick J Nortjie, who is visually impaired, strongly called for the inclusion of sign language during the tabling of the report.
While the report advocated for the inclusion of the language spoken by the majority of people in Tshwane, it stated that sign language could not qualify as the official language.
Nortjie rejected the notion that sign language could not be certified as one of the languages, saying such a statement was “flawed and incorrect from a legal point of view”.
A legal practitioner by profession, Nortjie said the rights of all South Africans with disabilities were protected in Section 9, Sub-section 3 of the Constitution.
“These rights also cover all the residents in the City of Tshwane metro living with hearing disability,” he said.
ActionSA Tshwane caucus leader Anniruth Kissoonduth said his party fought for the inclusion of languages spoken by the majority of residents, including sign language, in the City’s language policy. “This will go a long way to ensuring they receive support.”