Cape Town - Culture, Arts and Sport MEC Arnoux Marais has assured members of the provincial legislature that as one of the official languages of the Western Cape, Afrikaans receives equal attention to English and Xhosa from her department.
“This is so that the citizens of the province have access to the information in their mother tongue,” she said.
Marais was answering queries from members of the standing committee on cultural affairs and sport, on the department’s performance for the 2020/2021 financial year, during a discussion of the annual reports of the department and its entities including the Western Cape Language Committee (WCLC).
In his contribution to the discussion, committee member Peter Marais (FF Plus) urged the WCLC to ensure that Afrikaans was considered an indigenous language. He prefaced his comments by saying he was speaking as an MPL and a member of the Griqua royal house.
“The Griqua consider their indigenous language as Afrikaans. So, when it is said that we must promote indigenous languages, I want to make it very clear here that Afrikaans should be considered as an indigenous language.
“The Dutch didn’t come here and speak Afrikaans. They came here speaking Dutch, and people who they now called coloured, bastardised that language in the sense of giving it their own dialect.
“I want this council to object and not keep silent to let AfriForum fight the case the next time Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande changes policies with regard to the the use of Afrikaans at universities or schools, since our own Constitution says we must promote indigenous languages,” said Marais.
Recently Minister Nzimande defended himself from accusation by the DA leadership that he hates the Afrikaans language.
Committee chairperson Reagan Allen (DA) applauded the Provincial Language Committee for having held six formal engagements with stakeholders in the implementation of the province’s language policy.
“They provided 492 language support services in the three official Western Cape languages as well as in SA sign language,” he said.
Meanwhile, the department reported in its annual report that despite three adjustment budgets, it achieved a clean audit for the ninth year running.