FAQ

Below are several frequently asked questions listed. Enquiries regarding Information not provided in this list of questions can be directed to the Secretariat at:

secretary@sabrailleauthority.org.za

Or by telephone to Cathy on:

011 839 1793; or
083 701 4246.

Q: What is SABA?
A: The South African Braille Authority also known as Saba is a registered non profit organisation dealing solely with braille related matters in South Africa. (See clause 2 of the Constitution)
Q: What is the legal status of SABA?
A: Saba is a body corporate and independent of its members or any other institution. (See Clause 2 of the Constitution)
Q: What is the income of SABA used for?
A: The income and property of SABA will be used solely for the promotion of its objectives. (See Clause 3 of the Constitution)
Q: What is the purpose of SABA?
A: The purpose is to provide a national focal point, coordination and oversight of all braille related matters in South Africa.
Q: What are the objectives of SABA?
A: See a list of objectives in Clause 5 of the Constitution.
Q: What is the structure of SABA?
A: This is explained in Clause 6 of the Constitution.
Q: Where does SABA operate?
A: SABA operates in South Africa and elsewhere.
Q: How does SABA operate?
A: it operates through its members who are from braille and blindness related institutions and schools for the blind in South Africa and elsewhere. (See Clause 8 of the constitution)
Q: How does SABA’s governance work?
A: An Executive Committee with three office bearers and four additional members is elected every two years by the general membership. (See Clause 6 of the Constitution)
Q: What governs SABA?
A: At its inaugurating meeting and as adjusted later, SABA adopted a constitution regulating the operation of the organisation.
Q: Are the Executive Committee paid for their services?
A: No; they do voluntary work for the organisation.
Q: Who can be members of SABA?
A: Any institution, school or individual who have an interest and works with braille can become a member of SABA (See the SABA Constitution Clause 8).
Q: Does the organisation have an official office?
A: No, the secretariat and treasury operates from private locations for which nothing is paid accept out of pocket costs.
Q: How does SABA communicate with its members?
A: All members are obliged to subscribe to the SABA General mailing list on which all correspondence to members is placed.
Q: Does SABA advocate for braille?
A: Yes, SABA has a separate Advocacy committee advocating for the use of braille in all spheres of society.
Q: How can an institution or school become a member of SABA?
A: By requesting an application form from the Secretariat at: secretary@sabrailleauthority.org.za or by telephone to the secretary on 011 839 1793 or 083 701 4246.
Q: What are the membership fees?
A: At present, membership fees are R740.00 per annum for institutions and R390.00 for schools.
Q: When does the financial year start and end?
A: The Financial year of SABA is from 1 April to 31 March of any year.
Q: When can I join SABA as member?
A: Membership can start any time during the year but applies only for the remainder of the financial year.
Q: Is there a discount if I join during the year?
A: No, the membership fee is fixed regardless of the time when an application was accepted.
Q: What is the benefit of being a member of SABA?
A: There is no monetary or direct benefit attached to membership of SABA but membership of SABA adds to the voice of SABA and supports its actions and efforts to advocate for the use of braille in all sectors of life.
Q: How does SABA communicate with its members?
A: At least one, but at times two General Assembly meetings are held where members can take part in braille related discussions.
Q: Where are the meetings held?
A: The meetings are held in different centres of South Africa.
Q: How many delegates can attend a meeting?
A: Delegations for members can be of any number but each member has only one vote.
Q: Who pays for the travel and accommodation of delegations to the General Assembly meetings?
A: Each member of SABA is responsible for the travel and accommodation cost of its delegation to SABA meetings.
Q: How is SABA funded?
A: At present, SABA is dependent on membership fees to pay for its administration and membership to the international Council on English Braille and for any costs it might incur.
Q: Is SABA linked in any way to the international braille community?
A: SABA is a member of the International Council on English Braille serving with one member at large representing South Africa.
Q: What is braille?
A: Braille is a system of raised dots placed in cells of six dots whereby a visually impaired or blind reader can read any literature of technical material independently.
Q: Where is braille produced?
A: Braille is produced by several braille printing houses amongst which the largest are Blind SA’s Braille Services, Pioneer Printers, the SA Library for the Blind and others.
Q: Do I get any discounts on braille if I am a member of SABA?
A: No discounts on braille are given to SABA members.
Q: Does SABA provide braille training?
A: SABA can arrange accredited or other braille training for any institution or individual.
Q: What does braille training cost?
A: At present SABA does not charge anything for coordinating braille training but the trainers must have their cost refunded by the training institution or individuals.
Q: Where is braille training offered?
A: At present training is offered where it is most convenient for the trainee and trainer.
Q: How long does initial braille training take?
A: This is a long process and depends on the progress of the trainee.
Q: Is there further training offered to persons knowing basic braille?
A: Yes. It will last from two to five days depending on what is to be trained.
Q: Has braille developed further over the years?
A: Yes; the basic signs for the alphabet are still the same but the braille contractions and extended signs has been developed further to include all literary and technical subjects.
Q: Is braille the same in all languages?
A: No, every language has its own system of contractions and signs although the alphabet is the same in all languages.
Q: Is provision made for braille to be used in South African languages?
A: Yes, the braille code has been developed for all eleven South African languages.
Q: Is braille produced in all languages in South Africa?
A: Yes, the major braille printing houses can produce braille in all of the eleven South African languages.
Q: Is braille affordable for individuals?
A: Blind SA subsidises braille production for individual braille users and therefore makes it affordable.
Q: Can I have braille produced for university material?
A: Most of the larger universities have disability units that can produce material for braille using students. For the rest the major braille producers can transcribe braille at reduced cost per page.
Q: Is hard copy braille textbooks available for learners?
A: At present only the Pioneer Printers are printing limited editions of textbooks as the Department of Basic Education has not ordered these textbooks for all schools.
Q: Is material in audio formats not more convenient to use in stead of braille?
A: It may seem more convenient but using audio material does not contribute in any way to the literacy skills of the reader.
Q: What is refreshable braille?
A: Refreshable braille is a system by which raised dots on a so-called braille display mimics the braille cell and which can be replaced by different configurations of the braille cell by lowering and raising various combinations of dots.
Q: Is refreshable braille affordable?
A: The refreshable units are very expensive at present and not affordable to the ordinary braille user.
Q: Can refreshable braille be used for all material?
A: It can be used for literary material but problems are still experienced to use this mode especially for mathematical material.
Q: Can learners use refreshable braille units for school work?
A: At present only literary material can be used easily on refreshable braille units.
Q: Is braille used by the majority of blind and visually impaired persons?
A: No; at present only a small portion of blind and visually impaired persons uses braille.
Q: Will braille be replaced by audio in time?
A: No, braille will always be around as the basic tool to literacy although it will be used side by side with audio formats.
Q: Can technical material be produced in braille?
A: Yes, science, mathematical, music and computer braille codes have been developed to make this possible.
Q: Will refreshable braille replace hard copy braille one day?
A: Probably not because the majority of the technical material including mathematics and music cannot be produced with refreshable braille.
Q: Is this system affordable to the braille user?
A: No. It is at present still very expensive and out of reach of the ordinary braille reader.
Q: Are learners encouraged to improve their braille skills?
A: Yes, braille examinations arranged by the SA Library for the Blind is held every year to encourage learners to improve their braille reading and writing skills.
css.php