LANGUAGE POLICY IN TERMS OF CONDITIONS OF NATIONAL CREDIT ACT FOR FOSCHINI RETAIL GROUP (PTY) LTD
Foschini Retail Group is comprised of the following trading divisions:
@Home Living Space
@Home Living Space
These divisions trade from over 1500 branches throughout the country and are geographically represented throughout the entire country. In every region of the country, customers will have access to store staff that can speak the language in that particular region.
Both our head office and credit division for all stores are situated in Cape Town. The credit division is run by a call centre and is predominately staffed by persons emanating from the Western Cape, speaking English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.
We have in the past identified the geographical concentration of our stores are as follows: Gauteng (36%), Western Cape (24%), KZN (12%). The languages predominately spoken in these areas are English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Sesotho.
We have in the past analysed our data base and the top five languages spoken by our customers are English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Sesotho. We have chosen to concentrate on effectively catering for four major languages which are represented throughout the country, namely English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Sesotho. By limiting ourselves to four languages, we will be able to effectively implement our policy in the shortest period of time with the resources available to us, and taking into account Section 63(1) of the NCA.
Section 63(1) of the NCA states that customers have the right to receive any document that is required in terms of the Act in an official language that the consumer reads or understands, to the extent that it is reasonable having regard to usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the need and preference of the population ordinarily served by the person required to deliver that document. We will be complying with this Section in full, by offering the four languages as stated above, and by choosing to use these languages, we are catering to the broadest possible market throughout the country.
In terms of Section 63(2) we are able to make a submission to the NCA to make such documents available in four languages and offer the customer the opportunity to choose in which of these languages s/he wishes to receive such documents.
Section 63(3) allows us to either propose that the official languages are used throughout the country or different languages may be used in different parts of the country. We will be using these four languages throughout the country.
Section 63(4) states that the NCR must review this proposal "having regard to usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population ordinarily served by the person making the proposal". We submit that for reasons of practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population ordinarily served by the person, the proposal that we are making is the best possible proposal for our business at this time.
It is unfortunately impractical for us to provide all the relevant documents in all 11 official languages, for reasons of expense, practicality, logistics, systems support etc. and we will therefore be concentrating on providing documentation etc. in four languages at this time.
We therefore propose to translate essential legal documents and written correspondence into four official languages, namely English, Afrikaans, Sesotho and Xhosa. These languages are broadly represented in South Africa and we will be able to offer a large percentage of our customers with documentation in the language of their choice.
We advise that we are concerned that we may have problems with certain legal terms when translating documents into certain of these languages, as appropriate legal terms have not yet been developed for use in all of these languages, and this is a concern to us where we may have a future problem with interpretation of a document, which interpretation may not be what was originally intended.
The following documents have been translated into the four languages:
- Application form
- Pre-Agreement quote
- Credit Agreement
- Terms and Conditions of Foschini Retail Group.
We will also be translating various letters that are sent to customers, and are currently identifying which of these letters need to be translated, but have noted that the Section 129 letter must be translated as it is an important legal document.
Customers will be able to request these documents from us in any of the four chosen languages.
The following phasing in periods have been identified:
Phase One : - completed
- All documents in English, including all letters, advertisements and inserts;
- Translation of the relevant documents specified above into 3 additional languages is complete;
- Call centre offers customers the option to speak in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa, where possible.
Phase 2 : - to be completed by the end of 2009
- Commence with phasing in of all four languages, these will be made available to clients on request, where possible. Commence with placing the relevant documents on a store portal for access by all store staff around the country.
- Print advertisements that are to be targeted to specific language groups will be translated into that language, to be included into a print medium that uses that language.
Phase 3 : January 2010 - anticipated finalisation in December 2010
- Roll out of all relevant documents in four major languages, to all stores, to be available by all store staff around the country.
- Commence with investigation into various letters used by the business, and identify essential letters to be translated, and commence with translation thereof, most particularly, sec 129 letter.
- Load these letters on to the system, to be sent out to customers at their request.
We are currently advertising in various languages, depending on the advertising print medium selected.
In the long term, we will look at implementing the above phases for more of the eleven official languages, but currently there are financial constraints against doing so, and we aim instead to implement the four languages we have chosen as effectively as possible.