Nomination Closing Date for Language Board Members Extended

12 August 2008
Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Cameron Dugmore has today announced that the closing date for nominations for Board Members for the Western Cape Language Committee has been extended to 21 August 2008, to provide more time for applications and nominations.

The current Board's three-year term of office has come to an official end today. The Board consists of eleven members and its Chairperson is the well-known Afrikaans linguist Dr Michael Le Cordeur.

The Western Cape Language Committee is a statutory body, set up in terms of Section 13 of the Languages Act. Its mission is to actively promote multilingualism, to monitor the use of the three official languages and to support the development of the previously marginalized, indigenous languages of the Western Cape.

As a statutory body it must advise and make recommendations to the MEC regarding any proposed or existing legislation, practice and policy that directly deals with language matters.

In terms of the Act, one Board member must be an expert or specialist in Sign Language; another one in Nama and/or Khoi; and the rest equitably representative of the three official languages - isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans.

After a meeting of the Language Committee in Cape Town today, MEC Dugmore thanked the members for their contribution towards the transformation of the state of languages in the Western Cape.

He said he foresee an even more important role for the Language Committee in the Western Cape Government's efforts to promote nation building, reconciliation and empowerment.

MEC Dugmore said the department is exploring the recruitment of 400 post-matric learners as part of an expanded public works project, to train these learners as communicative language trainers.

"In this regard the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has already produced a manual for teaching conversational Xhosa, and is in the process of producing Afrikaans books.

"We should be able to provide opportunities for all citizens to be able to learn communicative isiXhosa, Afrikaans or English. The lessons can be provided at schools, adult centres, libraries or community centres.

MEC Dugmore also announced that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport is looking to set up eight International Languages Centres - one in each district municipality and three in the metropole - to provide access to foreign languages such as German, Mandarin, French, Spanish and kiSwahili.

"I believe this will open up huge opportunities and possibilities for our young people, for if they acquire some of these language skills, they could enter important tourism and hospitality industries, follow international political and diplomatic career paths or pursue other international opportunities.

"In addition, as part of preparing our nation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, we want to give Western Cape citizens the opportunity to learn any of the above languages, which will help to create a warm reception and friendly environment for international visitors."

Submit nominations and applications by post, fax or email or deliver to:
Quintus van der Merwe
Protea Assurance Building, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town, 8001
Private Bag X9067, Cape Town, 8000
Fax: 021 483 9675

Mr van der Merwe
Tel: 021 483 9674

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