Minister Meyer Reiterates His Determination to Fight Proposed National Language Bill
On the eve of International Mother Language Day, which is celebrated on 21 February 2012, Dr Ivan Meyer, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, today reiterated his determination to fight any attempts by the national government to marginalise any of the official languages of the Western Cape.
Speaking at the Western Cape Language Committee's annual language colloquium, Dr Meyer said: "Section 13 of the Western Cape Language Act of 1998 guarantees the equal status of the three official languages of the Western Cape. It is a tragedy that the Western Cape has to be considering taking the national government to court over a right that is enshrined in the Constitution. This colloquium is, however, not just about language. It is more importantly about promoting social inclusion."
Dr Meyer added that the Western Cape Language Policy does justice to the spirit of the Constitution of SA. "We do, however, still have lots of work to do to promote the equal status of the three languages of the Western Cape and the Western Cape Provincial Parliament must lead by example," says Meyer.
Speaking at the same colloquium, Dr Michael le Cordeur, Chairperson of the Western Cape Language Committee, expressed his concern at the lack of a national language policy for South Africa. "The Western Cape has indeed done ground-breaking work in this regard and we hope that our submissions to the national portfolio committee will be considered. Our languages are national assets that need to be enhanced and protected. Language rights cannot be divorced from human rights, says le Cordeur. He thanked Dr Meyer for his support and robust response to aspects of the proposed language bill which could impact negatively on the language rights of the citizens of the Western Cape.
Other speakers at the colloquium included Dr Neville Alexander, Professor Ana Deumert and Dr Stan Ridge.