Pretoria – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has walked away with an award for the promotion of multilingualism at the annual Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) awards.
The award, which was bestowed on Tuesday, was jointly shared with the Department of Sport and Recreation. The prize is South Africa’s premier acknowledgement for work in multilingualism and is a recognition for the major strides made by the SARS’ Language Unit.
“This award is an important acknowledgement of the good work that the SARS Language Unit has done over the past 12 months. What makes this award even more immense is the fact that the unit is a mere one year old,” said SARS Chief Officer for Strategy and Communications, Hlengani Mathebula.
SARS was recognised for an effective service delivery campaign in the public sector that seeks to promote multilingualism or any of the 11 official languages including Khoi, Nama, San as well as sign language.
“Given the nature of tax and the fact that most South Africans, from all walks of life are affected by SARS from PAYE, personal income tax to VAT, it was a natural step for SARS to embrace the Language Act which, at its heart, seeks to ensure that government communicates with citizens in a language, tone and manner that they are comfortable with,” said Mathebula.
SARS developed its language policy in 2015, which set in motion ambitious goals of communication with taxpayers in various languages.
Highlights from the SARS Language Unit over the past 12 months include the translation of specific tax information on the SARS website to isiZulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, Sepedi and Xitsonga.