Fight for Afrikaans at universities hotting up

4 months ago written by

The fight for retaining Afrikaans as medium of instruction at South African universities is far from over despite earlier setbacks in court hearings.

Minority rights group AfriForum and trade union Solidarity have now won an application for leave to appeal an earlier court ruling by the North Gauteng High Court against the use of Afrikaans as primary medium of instruction at the University of Pretoria (UP). Yet, the case can only be heard after a similar case is heard about Afrikaans at the University of The Free State (UFS).

AfriForum says in a statement it has won leave to appeal the earlier ruling by the the North Gauteng High Court to accept the new language policy of the University of Pretoria (UP) but this appeal can only be heard once the Highest Court of Appeal delivers judgement in a similar case of AfriForum and Solidarity against the newly accepted language policy of the management of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Both cases deal with the phasing out of Afrikaans as primary language of instruction at the two institutions.

The above-mentioned decision is welcomed by both apposing parties. “Even though the cases of the two universities display differences, both are about the wider principles of vindicating language rights, the right to mother tongue education, as well as stipulations of the Constitution and other South African legislation in this regard,” AfriForum says in a statement.

The judgement in the UFS appeal case will identify important arguments and principles. By reserving judgement in the ruling regarding permission for leave to appeal in the UP case, an opportunity is presented to AfriForum and Solidarity to also update their arguments in the case and subsequently include it.

AfriForum and Solidarity will take any steps necessary for the protection and vindication of the rights of Afrikaans students to study in their mother tongue. Members of AfriForum Youth who study at the UP also observed today’s proceeding with great interest and once again emphasised that Afrikaans education is of great interest to them.

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