Please note: The parliamentary papers on which this article was based have been withdrawn. According to a media statement issued by Parliament on 16 May 2023, it was only during a sitting of the NCOP on that date that the Bill was endorsed and sent to the President for assent.

The Constitution 18th Amendment Bill has been sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for signature, according to recent parliamentary papers. Adding South African Sign Language to the country’s official list of formally recognised languages, the Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 2 May and has since been endorsed by the NCOP.

Only when enacted and commenced by notice in the Government Gazette will South African Sign Language fall under section 6 of the Constitution, which among other things requires the Pan South African Language Board to promote and create conditions for its development.

According to the Bill’s memorandum of objects, once in force the amendments are expected to:

  • ‘advance the cultural acceptance of South African Sign Language and the deaf’, and
  • ensure that people with hearing challenges receive ‘equal protection and benefit’ under the law, are treated with respect and are not subjected to unfair discrimination on the grounds of disability.

Please click the links below for more information:

  • Bill
  • parliamentary papers (page 2)

Published by SA Legal Academy Policy Watch

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