DEAFSA submission: Resolution; Committee Annual Report 2006

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


25 May 2007

Chairperson: Dr E Schoeman (ANC)

Relevant documents:
Annual Report 2006 [available once adopted at Tabled Committee Reports]
DeafSA Memorandum on recognition of South African sign language as twelfth official language
DeafSA Powerpoint presentation


The Committee unanimously adopted its resolution on the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA) submission presented in February 2007. The Committee's resolution requested the Minister in the Presidency in conjunction with the Ministers of Arts and Culture and Education to convene a task team to look into accommodating sign language as a twelfth language as soon as possible as the logistical and budgetary implications needed to be investigated.

Committee Annual Report 2006 was discussed but not adopted as it was incomplete.


Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA)      

On 16 February 2007, DEAFSA made a submission to the Committee,  asking the Committee to assist with instituting sign language as a twelfth official language. The Chairperson reminded the members that the Committee had promised DEAFSA that it would come up with a resolution on the matter. Dr Schoeman asked Adv A Gaum (ANC) to read the draft resolution to the members, as he had been tasked with drafting it.

 Adv Gaum presented the draft resolution to the Committee and the following statements were contained in the draft resolution:

*The Committee appreciated the comprehensive motivation presented by DEAFSA in its endeavors to have sign language recognized as a twelfth official language, and the Committee agreed that the status quo is unacceptable.
*The Committee recognized that the accommodation of sign language as a twelfth language would have logistical and budgetary implications that would have to be investigated.
*The Committee requested the Minister in the Presidency in conjunction with the Minister of Arts and Culture and the Minister of Education to convene a task team that would look into this as soon as possible.
 * The Committee urged the
Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) to give credence to the instruction contained in Section 6(5)(a)(iii) of the Constitution, to promote South African sign language, and to report to the Joint Constitutional Review Committee on the progress made.

The Chairperson informed the Committee that he had had discussions with Minister in the Office of the President, Mr Essop Pahad, and Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Pallo Jordan, and they both agreed that DEAFSA had a strong case, but that there should not be a rush to change the Constitution until all the logistics were handled.
The Committee unanimously adopted the draft resolution presented by Adv. Gaum.

Committee Annual Report 2006
Adv T Masutha (ANC) suggested that the Committee review its vision statement. It was not very clear as the mandate seemed to have changed and needed to be updated. There was consensus on the matter. The Chairperson responded that since there was sufficient consensus, the Committee should set aside a time for the Committee to reflect on its vision and mission statements.

Adv Masutha also felt that the
Committee Annual Report 2006 did not sufficiently reflect the work done by the Committee. Ms S Camerer (DA) expressed her concerns about the format and style of the report. The Committee agreed that the report needed to be redone because of the grammatical errors, poor style and format. The Chairperson offered to rework the report together with the Committee Secretary. A draft of the new version would be circulated to members well before the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


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