Deputy Speaker, we as the IFP have been given to understand that a draft of the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for next year has been tabled by the Department of Basic Education. What is of concern is that the draft does not make provision for Eastern languages as part of the curriculum.
It was in 2003 that a similar omission was mooted and at the time I, as MEC for education in KwaZulu-Natal, was able to persuade the then Minister, Kader Asmal, that Eastern languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu, Urdu and Arabic are languages that have been in use for the past 150 years, and that their continued existence and promotion should be guaranteed. This was acceded to then.
Although not part of the 11 official languages, they are certainly indigenous languages. Thousands of learners are studying Eastern languages in our schools today, and hundreds of teachers have been trained to teach these languages. Whilst an argument can be made that statistics may not be all that accurate, the right of every South African to the protection of languages is enshrined in our Constitution.
We as the IFP trust that the hon Minister of Basic Education will ensure that there is no termination of the teaching of Eastern languages in our schools, now and/or in the future. Thank you. [Applause.]