The meeting of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) Representative Forum of the Polokwane Municipality that took place in Polokwane on Tuesday, took a negative turn when Johan Willemse, Freedom Front Plus councillor, interrupted the presenter to object to the fact that the presentation was conducted in Northern Sotho.
Willemse told Faith Maboya, Director Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the municipality, that the official language of the municipality is English and insisted that she should proceed to present the 2015/16 Draft IDP/Budget/PMS Process Plan in English.
“I cannot understand what is presented and will therefore not be able to give input on the process plan as required by legislation. The process is flawed and of no value if all inputs are not taken into account,” Willemse said to Polokwane Observer after he left the meeting. Willemse said that although English is not his language of preference, he is prepared to abide by the council resolution because English is understood by the majority in the municipality. He will however still strive to have Afrikaans and Northern Sotho recognised as official languages of the council.
Tidimalo Chuene, Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, in response said that like all other municipal documents, the IDP process plan document that the director was presenting is written in English as required and all that the presenter was doing was to make it easy for the majority of the people in attendance to follow the presentation in Northern Sotho. “Everyone in the hall including the councillor had a copy of the presentation with them. The presenter mixed both English and Northern Sotho and used Northern Sotho to emphasise important information. It is regrettable that the councillor chose to leave the meeting and not heed to the call by the Executive Mayor for him to stay and have his complaint addressed in a proper manner. However, the Executive Mayor expressed that an appropriate platform would be utilised to explain the use of language threshold to the councillor. Polokwane Municipality acknowledges and respects all languages and cultural diversity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic,” Chuene said.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN