UFS: Ruling a victory for Afrikaans – AfriForum

Organisation welcomes judgement which sets aside language policy at university

AfriForum, AfriForum Youth and Solidarity welcome verdict on UFS language policy as victory for Afrikaans

21 July 2016

AfriForum, AfriForum Youth and Solidarity today welcomed the judgement by the High Court in Bloemfontein – which sets aside the decision by the Senate and Council over the language policy of the University of the Free State – as a victory for Afrikaans, its speakers and the language rights of South Africans in general. Had their decision been maintained, Afrikaans would not have been used as language of instruction at the University from 2017 onwards. Afrikaans now retains its current position as language of instruction at the University.  

It became clear during the hearing on 20 June 2016 that the University’s management did not consider the provisions of the South African Constitution regarding the right to choice of language of instruction, but rather bent the knee to anarchy, while parading their political games as a language issue in the process. 

The phasing out of Afrikaans as medium of instruction would have significantly affected the rights of members of AfriForum, AfriForum Youth and Solidarity, which include Afrikaans students, prospective students, their parents and employees of the University. The organisations therefore welcome the ruling by the Court. The continuous Anglicisation of the tertiary education is not only out of touch with international tendencies, but impacts heavily on the rights of 90% of the country’s indigenous mother-tongue speakers. The argument that English education offers greater access, is a myth – it only benefits English mother-tongue speakers. Nothing is gained by scaling down Afrikaans education, because rights cannot be promoted by taking away the rights of anyone else.

AfriForum, AfriForum Youth and Solidarity are also involved in legal action over similar discriminating decisions against Afrikaans as medium of instruction at the Universities of South Africa, Pretoria and Stellenbosch. Today’s judgement will obviously effect these legal actions – AfriForum and Solidarity’s legal teams will study today’s judgement and make recommendations over further actions on the basis of this judgement. 

Issued by Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO, AfriForum, 21 July 2016