Phini likaSomlomo elihloniphekile [Hon Deputy Speaker] ...
... hon Deputy President, hon Ministers here present, ladies and gentlemen, on 7 August last year I stood before this House to table for consideration the Use of Official Languages Bill. On that day we said that we were taking a major step in the promotion of multilingualism in our country. We also said that we were strengthening our efforts to build a South Africa that truly belonged to all who lived in it, black and white, united in their diversity.
Today, as I table the Language Practitioners' Council Bill, I do so in order to take forward the work we are doing to promote the widespread use of all official languages. Once again we are delighted that the Bill we are tabling is a product of popular participation and broad consensus among various stakeholders. By tabling this Bill we are, as directed by the Constitution of our country, taking another step forward in ensuring that all languages enjoy parity of esteem.
Hi tlhela hi xixima ni ku sirhelela timfanelo ta tindzimi ta Maafrika- Dzonga. [Again, we want to respect and protect the linguistic rights of South Africans.]
In particular, through the Bill we are ensuring that there is proper regulation of the language profession and thus addressing some of the challenges it faces. The challenges include the vulnerability to exploitation of many language practitioners, the lack of clear and predictable standards for the language profession and the lack of protection to members of the public who may be prejudiced by the services rendered by language practitioners.
In addressing these challenges, the Bill provides for the establishment of the SA Language Practitioners' Council. It sets out the objectives, powers, duties and functions of that council. Of critical importance is that the Bill seeks to regulate the training of language practitioners and provide for the control of their accreditation and registration. The Bill also proposes that the SA Language Practitioners' Council acts as an advisory body to the Minister responsible for language matters. The council is also expected to prescribe the rules governing the conduct of language practitioners, language professionals and the procedures for compliance, monitoring and enforcement. We are also proposing that the council provides and encourages the provision of opportunities for South Africans, especially from disadvantaged communities, to enter the language profession and practice as language practitioners.
We are confident that the measures we are proposing in the Bill will go a long way in elevating the status of the language profession, ensuring that it is properly regulated and that it contributes meaningfully to language preservation and development. Following this Bill, we are likely to see more South Africans pursuing careers in the language profession, not only as an academic pursuit but also as a means towards promoting unity and diversity. Hinkwaswo leswi swi twisiseka kahle hi tlhelo ra vumundzuku bya tindzimi etikweni ra hina. [This can be well understood in the context of the prospects of South African languages in our country.]
Hon members, we are doing all of these things inspired, among others, by the words of the founding father of our democratic nation, uTata Nelson Mandela, who wrote the following:
Without language one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.
Let us continue to preserve and develop our languages because it is only through language that we can reach out to one another and embrace each other's diversity.
Mohlomphehi Sepikara, ke motlotlo ho teka Bili ya Lekgotla la Basebeletsi ba puo hore e amohelwe Ntlong ena. [Hon Speaker, it is an honour for me to table the Language Practitioners' Council Bill before this House for consideration.]
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers, Members of Parliament and guests in the gallery, I want to start by saying that in the committee we agreed on the Bill. I am therefore not expecting any surprises here today. [Interjections.]
Malungu ahloniphekileyo, hayi bo. Kaloku akufuneki ndithethe qho ndisithi niyangxola nibadala. Imbi loo nto niyenzayo. Qhubeka, lungu elihloniphekileyo. [Hon members, no, no, I must not always remind you that you are making a noise; you are adults. What you are doing is wrong. Continue, hon member.]
The ANC has always been in favour of multilingualism, from as far back as the Freedom Charter. The liberation party declared that all people shall have equal rights to use their own languages and develop their own folk culture and customs. Some people do not recognise the catastrophic impact that colonialism and apartheid had on African languages. There was a deliberate onslaught against Africans and their own languages, especially the first people, the Khoikhoi and the San, who fought against oppression from as early as the 15th century.
When you are dealing with the question of language and equality, you would expect the full support of the perpetrators of languages that trampled on indigenous languages and coerced Africans into speaking their languages. During that process the illegitimate state used the taxes of Africans to marginalise their own languages while the languages of the oppressors were being promoted. You find that even in certain political parties today, the idea of giving equal status to all indigenous languages is perceived as a threat to dominant languages like English.
We want to assure South Africans, abantu bethu [our people], that Bills such as the Use of Official Languages Bill, which was passed last year, and the Bill we are passing today - by the way, we will pass it because we are the majority - will not suppress any of the official languages but promote all languages so that they are treated the same, both in government and commerce.
The Bill addresses the legitimate concerns of languages and culture and does not narrow its scope by protecting just one or two languages, but all 11 official languages. In fact, the Language Practitioner's Council Bill will ensure that equal status is given to all historically diminished languages without taking away English and Afrikaans, hon Mulder.
Uyayiva akunjalo? Kulungile. [You do understand, right? That is good.]
The council will be responsible for the professionalisation of the use of indigenous languages and the protection of all language practitioners from all official languages in South Africa. Right now, only English and Afrikaans have some resemblance to a professional sector, but this is unregulated and cannot cater for all 11 languages. While there are voluntary organisations that purport to provide professional registration of language practitioners, these remain unregulated and cater only for the white minority. There is no evidence that suggests that language practitioners are accountable and that they are obliged to meet the necessary standards of service. Hence, this council will enforce registration of all language practitioners in the country so that individuals providing language services are identified and adhere to a particular level of professionalism.
The establishment of the council will demonstrate that accredited language skills are more likely to provide the most effective language services. Hence, as the Minister correctly says, the role of the council will be to govern the language practitioners and turn them into a professionally recognised sector. The ethics in this industry are found in the moral character of the language sector so that it is no longer perceived as an unscrupulous sector where people provide poor services and get away with it.
When it comes to African languages, you find that people do not want to pay translators because they say they are our mothers, uncles and siblings. They ask why they should pay their own people.
In the health sector ...
... nina bantu bahlala begula kakhulu nisiya kwizibhedlele zikarhulumente ufika oomama phaya betolika, betolikela ugqirha ongumlungu kodwa bangabhatalwa kuba kusithiwa abazizo iingcali [professionals] kodwa olu lwimi bayaluthetha kwaye bayamnceda ugqirha ngokuthi bamxelele ukuba lo mntu uyagula uphethwe yintloko okanye iinyawo ... (Translations of the isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[... where there are people who are always sick and go to public hospitals, you will find women interpreting for the white doctor but they are not paid for that on the basis that they are not professionals; however, they speak the language and they are also helping the doctor by telling him/her that the patient is suffering from a headache or sore feet.]
Then, later, we say we don't want to pay these people. No, it is not fair. When you go to other different sectors, where you find ...
... ukuba aba bantu bayatolika kodwa ababhatalwa ... [... that these people are interpreting but are not paid ...]
... we call them our "organic intellectuals" when we need their information but when we are supposed to pay them, then we say, no, they have not been regulated. This is what this Bill seeks to do. [Applause.]
The proposed council will promote indigenous languages by ensuring that people working in the language sector are not exploited and are paid what they are worth. If you look at the profile of people who speak indigenous languages, ngabantu bethu [it's our people]. These people are from our communities, our townships, our villages and they are so impoverished that they don't even know how to access the language sector as a trade. We proudly say that we have dictionaries for our African languages. They have been translated, from the Khoi, the San and I remember people saying they were busy with the Nama. But those people are not paid! Those who are educated, the researchers ...
... baya phaya kubo balufumane ulwimi baze bakugqiba... [... go to them and acquire the language and when they finish ...]
... then they get the victory of saying that they translated an English dictionary into isiXhosa, isiZulu or Setswana ...
...empa bomme ba teng ha ba fumane letho, tjhelete e ile le makgowa. [... yet these people do not benefit anything; all the money goes to the white people.]
These people from our communities and villages deserve to be recognised. It will be this council's responsibility to ensure that people from disadvantaged communities enter the language sector and find jobs as interpreters, translators, writers, editors and so forth. The council will encourage people from poor communities to participate in the language sector to earn a living. People who are exploited in the industry tend to move away from it once they realise that bayaqhathwa [they are being taken for a ride] and are not being paid as they should. South Africa has moved away from promoting unregulated sectors that take advantage of less powerful people.
The ability of language to link people to the services offered by the government is what the previous Bill was trying to achieve. As I said, when you go to a hospital, for instance, you understand what the medical staff member is saying. In cases like these, accredited language practitioners would ensure that they felt closer to society and resources.
Sometimes you find that an interpreter is not doing a good job of translating information and you fail to understand what is being said, even though it is said in your own home language. The Bill is very clear that the council must regulate the training of language practitioners to ensure that they meet certain standards in the sector. Similar to any other trade, the council will organise language practitioners according to its own standards, authority and policies. The council will be responsible for prescribing how to regulate the sector that should be governed.
The Language Practitioner's Council Bill debate has come at a time when people are crying out for their languages to be recognised. We do see some progress in the media, with news channels offering content in indigenous languages, but this is a drop in the ocean of what is possible.
Language rights will not only be recognised by the passing of the Bill. As the ANC has the mandate of over 65% of the voters, it is our obligation to bring such services to the people. The ANC views this Bill as a way to undo the damage that was done by the apartheid minority government. It is unfortunate that hon Steenhuisen, my friend, is not here today because he said that it was not true that our languages were marginalised. The question I would have asked him today is why he cannot speak any of our languages if they had not been marginalised. That is the question because he was saying that I am not speaking the truth. But hon members will pass on that message. [Interjections.]
The issue of language is a very sensitive issue. Some of the people who are saying this today were raised by people who never went to school, but they understood the language when they were hungry. They understood their language when they wanted anything to be done. But now they suddenly say that this language was recognised.
Furthermore, we also encourage workplaces to follow this Bill that we are speaking about. You find that there are still places that discriminate against our own languages; where, in the workplace...
.. kuthiwa abantu mabathethe isilungu kuba umlungu akabeva kwaye bayamhleba. [... people are told to speak English because the white person does not understand their language and they are gossiping about him/her.]
We have cases where our languages are not recognised.
Furthermore, we condemn those teachers who say that children must speak English even when they are at home. They think that language is superior just because they are professional teachers. The issue of languages is very important.
As I said when I started, we agreed unanimously on the Bill. We made our inputs as the committee. I know hon Mulder could be one member to come and say something, but I don't think he will say anything different because this does not take Afrikaans away.
Ons kan nie daardie ding doen nie. Afrikaans is geskiedenis. Ek praat ook Afrikaans. [We cannot do that. Afrikaans is part of history. I also speak Afrikaans.]
Ngoko ke, ndicela ukuba ungasisokolisi namhlanje ... [I therefore beg you not to give us hard time today ...]
... just agree with the Bill. Thank you.
Adjunkspeaker, Adjunkpresident en lede van die Nasionale Vergadering, die koms nou van die Wetsontwerp op die Raad vir Suid-Afrikaanse Taalpraktisyns is 'n belangrike oomblik vir die bevordering van taal in ons land, byges, natuurlik, as die Taalpraktisynsraad gegun word om tot volle wasdom te ontwikkel. Die wetsontwerp gaan dui op die herontwaking van taalstudie in skole en verskillende vlakke van tersire studie.
Ek was 'n BA-student aan die Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir Christelike Hor Onderwys. Daar het ek 'n Baccalareus Artium met Afrikaans en Nederlands, Spraakleer en Vertolkingskunde in die drama departement gedoen, en baie mense het gevra: Wat gaan jy doen met 'n BA-graad? Daar is mos nie werk om in 'n taal te kan doen nie. Wat gaan jy daarmee doen? Dit was veral die BSc-studiemense wat half smalend neergesien het op ons mense wat 'n BA- graad in tale gedoen het. Ek het vir hulle ges ek gaan die gebruik om 'n toekoms te bou, en ek het my brood tot nou toe met taal verdien; met my spraakorgane en 'n bietjie entoesiasme en ywer. Ek was 'n onderwyser, 'n radio-omroeper en nou 'n LP.
Daar is so baie mense wat so lief is vir hulle taal - isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, en so kan ons al ons land se tale opnoem, tale wat leef op die tonge van taal-indoenas. Die belangstelling in die taal en lettere het ongelukkig getaan as gevolg van beperkte beroepsmoontlikhede, en ek lees vandag in Die Burger dat die Afrikaanse Taaldepartement by die Universiteit van KwaZulu-Natal dalk gaan sluit. Dit is altyd 'n jammerte as enige taaldepartement by enige universiteit sluit. Dit moet nooit gebeur nie. Alle tale is so belangrik. Ek is so bly oor hierdie wetsontwerp, want dit ontsluit die moontlikhede vir mense wat, soos ek en baie van julle, ongelooflik lief is vir hul taal. Ek is lief vir Afrikaans, en ek weet elkeen van u het 'n moedertaal waarvoor u baie lief is.
Jongmense wat taalmense is, kan nou met vrymoedigheid Baccalareus Artium gaan studeer, en ek glo daar gaan baie geleenthede wees om jou taal te timmer, om soos N P van Wyk Louw die beitel in te span om die aarde oop te kloof. Dit is wat taal doen. Dit breek wrelde om ons oop; dit bring ons nader aan mekaar; dit breek skanse af wat rondom ons is. Op di wyse verstaan ons mekaar. Daar gaan ruim geleentheid wees vir mense met nie- formele taalvaardighede of kwalifikasies om hul brood met taalvermo te verwerf. Dit is ook wat die agb Sunduza ges het. Iemand wat dalk glad nie studeer het of 'n graad behaal het in isiXhosa of watter taal ookal nie kan nou ingespan word. Vanwe die wonderlike kommunikasievaardighede van sulke individue kan mense nou iewers op die platteland help om, byvoorbeeld, wanneer iemand dokter toe gaan vir die dokter te verduidelik wat verkeerd is met die persoon, want daardie mens kan in die idioom van daardie persoon praat.
Ek wil ook dit vir u noem. Ek wil hulde bring. Ek weet nie waar sit die vertalers hier in die Parlement nie. Baie dankie vir wat julle doen. Nou kan julle ook aansoek doen om te behoort tot hierdie Taalpraktisynsraad. Daar is so baie ander mense. Ek wil vir u s dat u seker dikwels in u eie taal luister na, byvoorbeeld, 'n advertensie oor die radio of 'n storie wat vertaal word, en dan is dit swak vertaal. As jy 'n Zulusprekende persoon is en daardie isiZulu is swak vertaal, is dit soos 'n dolk wat in jou hart gesteek word, maar nou, as daar mense is wat verantwoordelik is en wat deel is van hierdie Taalpraktisynsraad, kan hulle sorg dat u taal nooit afgeskeep gaan word nie, sodat daar gepraat kan word in die idioom wat graag gehoor wil word. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr N J VAN DEN BERG: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President and members of the National Assembly, the arrival now of the South African Language Practitioners' Council Bill is an important moment for the promotion of language in our country, added to which, of course, is whether the Language Practitioners' Council is allowed to develop to full maturity. The Bill will indicate the reawakening of the study of language in schools and at various levels of tertiary study.
I was a BA student at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. There I studied towards a Bachelor of Arts, with Afrikaans and Nederlands, Speech and Interpretation in the drama department, and many people asked me: What are you going to do with a BA degree? There is, after all, no work you can do using a language. What are you going to do with that? It is especially the BSc students who dismissively looked down on people who were studying towards a BA degree in languages.
I told them that I was going to use it to build a future, and until now I have earned my living using language, employing my speech organs and a little enthusiasm and dedication. I have been a teacher and radio announcer and now I am an MP.
There are so many people who love their language so much - isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, and so we could list all the languages of our country, languages that live on the tongues of language indunas. Interest in the language and literature has unfortunately waned as a result of limited career opportunities, and only today I read in Die Burger that the Department of Afrikaans language at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is possibly closing down. It is always a pity when any language department at any university is closed down. That should never happen. All languages are so important. I am happy about this Bill, since it opens the possibilities for people who, like me and many of you, have an incredible love of their language. I love Afrikaans, and I know each of you has a mother tongue that you love.
Young people who are language people can now confidently study towards a Bachelor of Arts, and I believe there will be many opportunities to knock your language into shape, to use it like N P van Wyk Louw's chisel to split open the earth. That is what language does - it breaks open worlds around us, it brings down the bastions that hem us in. In this way we are able to understand each other. There will be ample opportunity for people with non- formal language abilities or with qualifications to earn their living using their language ability. That is also what the hon Sunduza said. Someone who possibly did not study at all or who did not obtain a degree in isiXhosa or whatever language can now be put to work. Thanks to the wonderful communication abilities of such individuals, people somewhere in the rural areas are now able to lend a hand, for example when someone goes to the doctor, to explain to the doctor what is wrong with that person, because he or she is able to use the idiom of that person.
I also want to mention this to you. I want to express praise. I do not know where the translators sit here in Parliament. Many thanks for what you do. Now you can also apply to belong to this Language Practitioners' Council. There are so many other people. I want to remind you that you probably often listen in your own language to, for example, an advertisement on the radio or to a story that has been translated, and then it has been poorly translated. If you are a isiZulu-speaking person and that isiZulu has been poorly translated, it feels like a dagger entering your heart, but now, if there are people who are responsible and who are part of this Language Practitioners' Council, they can ensure that your language will never be neglected, so that it is possible to speak of the idiom that it is desirable to hear.]
South Africa's efforts at building a unified nation are relatively new. We have emerged from our political transition in 1994 as groups divided by history, but united by the vision that we have for the country. This is a vision of a country that will heal the division of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights; and also a vision of a people that will honour their past while taking positive steps to build a shared future.
Viva, taal in Suid-Afrika! Mag dit goed gaan met al die tale in ons land, en wees lief vir jou taal, asseblief. Viva, die tale! Baie dankie. [Applous.] [Viva, language in South Africa! May all the languages in our country flourish, and please love your language. Viva, the languages! Thank you very much. [Applause.]]
Molweni apha ekhaya. [Kwahlekwa.] Injani imvuko? [Uwele- wele.] NguDlangamandla lo! Kufuneka ndifake iiglasi zamehlo ukuze ndibone yonke le nto ndiqhele ukuyibona. [Uwele-wele.] [Greetings to everyone in the House. [Laughter.] How are you? [Interjections.] I am Dlangamandla! I must wear my spectacles so that I can see what I used to see. [Interjections.]]
For the first time in life in South Africa, the issue of languages and language practitioners is now positioned as one of the top priorities on the country's development agenda. [Interjections.]
Ndandinixelele ukuba andiphindi ndingasithethi isilungu. [Kwahlekwa.] [I've told you that I will never stop speaking English again. [Laughter.]]
Remember, when you touch the language issue, you are touching a nerve and the blood of an individual. For too long the environment in which language practitioners have been operating has not been conducive to professionalism. As such, they have been deprived of their right to freedom of expression in this country. The Bill must help and defend them when they are dealing with their challenges.
With regard to language activists in Parliament ...
... apha kule Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho ... [... in this National Assembly ...]
... the definitions should include oaths of office, seniority level; language professional, accreditable, registered language practitioners and retirees' accreditation. The council should determine standardised tariffs for each level of language practitioner and it should include PanSALB.
Individuals with more than 10 years experience, who have been the backbone of interpreting services and who may not possess the necessary qualifications, need to be considered in this Bill because their vast experience will empower the council to reach its objectives.
The implementation of this Bill is long overdue and its introduction to this House is an indication that government and Parliament take language practitioners very seriously. This Bill will give language practitioners the dignity they deserve. The Bill also seeks to provide for the objectives of the council to protect the professional interests of language practitioners and to protect members of the public who make use of the services provided by language practitioners.
Hon Minister of Arts and Culture, if the council does not function, the time has arrived to act fast - especially when the council does not perform. This would prevent a vacuum from developing, where nobody can be held accountable, because that would open an unnecessary space for no service delivery to the nation.
Hon Minister, Cope calls for the implementation, implementation and implementation of this Bill. Cope [iyayixhasa] supports this Bill. [Interjections.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Madam Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, Ministers and hon members, not that I have been undermining the language profession but when we conducted public hearings on this Bill, I realised how much more important this profession is than I had thought. Members of the public and language organisations responded very positively to the invitation to the public hearings and made massive contributions to the Bill.
I can say without fear of contradiction that with this Bill the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture complied fully with the provision of section 59(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in that it facilitated public involvement. I can confirm that it was not a mere question of compliance. This is not the same Bill as it was before we conducted public hearings. We took very seriously the inputs of those who gave their submissions orally and in writing. Those inputs are included in this Bill.
Because of the importance of this language profession, the UDM believes that the establishment of the Language Practitioners' Council is long overdue. Therefore, we verily believe and trust that this juristic person that this Bill seeks to establish will take its objectives and functions very seriously. The UDM supports the Bill. Thank you.
Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, colleagues, this seems to be quite an ordinary Bill but it is not. This Bill is part of a certain process in terms of languages in South Africa that is very important. Hon Sunduza tried to convince me that I should relax and not worry about Afrikaans being threatened in any way. Let me assure you, hon Sunduza - and remember this forever - Afrikaans survived the onslaught of the British Empire. The ANC won't be a problem; you can relax. If for some reason, at some stage, it comes to be a problem ... but I don't think it will ever get to that. So, don't worry about that. We are quite relaxed in that respect.
The second thing that you should remember is that the majority of Afrikaans- speaking people in this country are not white. Many millions of people out there speak Afrikaans. So, Afrikaans is a normal South African official language. But let me come back to what we are busy with.
We are a very diverse society and we all know that. We have many differences and language is one of them. But language can be and should be a very strong point in terms of social cohesion and true nation building. Once we start going down this road, where we are now in terms of this Bill ... As I have said, we should not see it in isolation: Earlier this year, when we approved the Use of Official Languages Bill, it was the first step in taking further what the Constitution says in section 6 about the 11 official languages.
The day we start to respect each other's language - all our languages; the day we are competent in speaking our different languages to one another, that is when we will be making true strides in social cohesion and nation building. That is what we should strive for; that is where we should go. With that process, we are moving in the right direction at last. If we are serious, then we definitely need a Bill like this to establish an official language practitioners' council, to make these things official and to assist when we go down the road of multilingualism - which South Africa cannot do without.
Of course the FF Plus will support this Bill. We will support every measure that takes our multilingualism and respect for our different languages further. Of course our children should be able to speak different languages, because then we can understand one another and we will be able to take our country forward.
I want to ask you this: For once, let us look forward and not backward. Let us look forward, thinking positively of what this may bring to South Africa and how it will help us to take our country further. We will support this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]
Museketeri wa Mutshamaxitulu, Museketeri wa Phuresidente wa tiko, Holobye wa Ndzawulo ya Vutshila na Mfuwo na Museketeri wa n'wina, Vaholobye hinkwavo na Vaseketeri va vona na Swirho swa Yindlu leyo saseka songhasi, sweswi i nkarhi lowunene wo vulavula hi Nawumbisi lowu wa timhaka ta tindzimi ta tiko ra hina, na hi laha hi khutazaka vaakatiko hinkwavo ku tinyungubyisa na ku hlayisa ndhavuko na ndzhaka leyi ya tindzimi ta hina.
Nawumbisi lowu wu khutaza vanhu hinkwavo ku tokota swinene hi ku vulavula tindzimi ta hina hi rixaladzi, vutshila na mfuwo wa ririmi hi ku hetiseka. A hi tinyungumbiseni swin'we hi tindzimi ta hina ta xintima leti a ti ri ehansi ka ntshikilelo hi mfumo lowu nga hundza wa xihlawuhlawu. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraphs follows.)
[Mr D W MAVUNDA: Deputy Chairperson, Deputy President of the Republic, Minister of Arts and Culture and your deputy, all ministers and their deputies, members of this beautiful House, it is now the right time to talk about the Bill that concerns the indigenous languages of our country and how we encourage all citizens to be proud of and to preserve the culture and heritage of our languages.
This Bill encourages all the people to be skilful in using our languages with pride, art and culture of the language in totality. Let us all be proud of our indigenous languages which were suppressed by the former apartheid regime.]
This democratic and caring government, of course under the leadership of the ANC, finds it necessary to establish a juristic person for the protection and promotion of language practices in the Republic. The SA Language Practitioners' Council Bill seeks to facilitate the effective implementation of the constitutional obligation concerning multilingualism as contemplated in section 6 of our Constitution. This means that every South African will be able to use the official language of his or her choice as a matter of right in a range of contexts. This was also contemplated in the already promulgated Use of Official Languages Act of 2012, which has just been signed by the hon President of the Republic.
These Bills, as the hon chairperson already indicated, seek to regulate language practitioners and ensure that they are accredited and registered and offer their services in a professional manner. Moreover, this Bill will also seek to formalise the existence of language practitioners as accredited experts, governed by the set standards and norms of our Constitution.
In this regard, in their profession language practitioners will be available to develop indigenous languages through the Use of Official Languages Act. This Act seeks to capacitate language practitioners through language policies and legislation. The Language Practitioners' Council will also change the perception that the indigenous languages are inferior to English and Afrikaans whereas, in essence, all indigenous languages in South Africa were suppressed and made to be neglected by their own people under the apartheid regime.
As we speak, we still have people who offer their language skills to government and the business sector but are not paid even a cent or given anything as a token of appreciation. All this happens because we do not have a council that regulates and protects the sector in a way that maintains high standards of language use by our practitioners. In the absence of a structure in the form of a council representing the interests of translators, interpreters and writers of indigenous languages, our people became so vulnerable because they could not be protected by any policy or legislation.
The Language Practitioners' Council will create an enabling environment for job creation in the language practice sector. It will be possible to link up with opportunities, either as self-employed professionals or as practitioners offering their services to the national language units that will be established in all national departments under the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012.
If there is a Language Practitioners' Council, it will become possible for our people to make careers out of speaking their own home languages. Moreover, organic language practitioners will be regulated in a way that will lead them to become professional language practitioners and people who offer language services will enjoy greater credibility.
Xandla xa Mutshamaxitulu, hi ku famba ka nkarhi tindzimi hinkwato leti a ti nga tsarisiwanga eka matsalwa lamakulu ya tiko a ti ri kusuhi na ku rivariwa na ku fa. Hi ku ya hi Nawumbisi lowu ti ta pfuxetiwa ti tlhela ti tirhisiwa. Hikokwalaho, ku ta va na ku burisana lokunene na ku vuyerisa vanhu va Afrika-Dzonga na vapfhumba hinkwavo va matiko ya le handle. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Hon Chairperson, all languages which were not codified in the national registry were about to be forgotten and to die with time. According to this Bill, they will be revitalised and be used again. For this reason, there will be good communication and will benefit the South African public and all tourists from overseas.]
The Bill will have positive implications for a variety of language developments in our country. The ANC therefore supports the Bill.
Ku dya ngopfu a hi ku hlula ndlala. Ndzi gimeta mbulavulo wa mina kwala. I mahlanga! [I have spoken a mouthful. It marks the end of my speech. Till we meet again.] [Applause.]
Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, theoretically and on paper, all South Africans have the right to use the official language of their choice, but this right applies only to those who speak one of the 11 official languages.
This House cannot and must not close its eyes to the reality that there are more than 11 languages in South Africa. The right to use the language of one's choice is not being enjoyed by people who speak sign language and people who speak the Khoi and the San languages. The people who speak Northern isiNdebele - isiNdebele saseNyakathu -are not enjoying this right. The people who stay in the areas of Majaneng in Hammanskraal, Zebediela, Mokopane, Mashashane and Bakenberg are struggling to have their language recognised as an official language. They have a long record of the letters they wrote to previous Ministers of Arts and Culture and the Speaker of the