JULIUS Malema’s EFF has rejected the Constitutional Court’s decision to reinstate the Afrikaans language as learning and teaching medium at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
In a statement on Friday night, the EFF said it was not impressed by the Constitutional Court decision that Afrikaans should be reinstated at Unisa by 2023 after AfriForum successfully argued for its return.
The EFF said the court ignored the nexus between race and language in the context of South Africa’s history.
“The selective choice of Afrikaans as a superior language perpetuates superiority over indigenous languages, and is an insult to the standing of Africans and their heritage of rich languages,” the EFF said.
“In the grace period to 2023 determined by the court, we call on Unisa to retrace its steps correctly and with lawful and procedural precision, do away with the 1976 language of national oppression, racial segregation, exclusion and supremacy.”
The red berets said that if the Afrikaans language was reinstated at Unisa, then the university must use African languages as a medium of instruction, including Swahili.
The Concourt gave Unisa time until the beginning of the 2023 academic year to revise its language policy, which abolished teaching and learning in Afrikaans.
The Concourt upheld a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last year following a dispute between Unisa and the AfriForum lobby group.
The university changed its language policy in 2016, abolishing Afrikaans as a dual teaching and learning medium.
AfriForum then reversed the university’s decision and resumed Afrikaans.
AfriForum said that it would continue to monitor Unisa’s language policy to ensure that it complied with a Constitutional Court judgment.
The legal team representing UNISA says even though the Constitutional Court ruled against their client, the university has every intention of complying with the judgment delivered during the week.
According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s Head of Cultural Affairs, this judgment which followed after legal processes spanning more than five years, is of great importance to all Afrikaans-speaking students in the country, but also for the future of Afrikaans as a high-function language.
“This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the empowerment of all who are not first language speakers of English in tertiary education. It is fair to say that private educational institutions have freedom to offer education in any language of their choice, but to be used as the language of instruction at a tertiary institution is of great importance for the survival and continuous development of a language,” said Bailey.
“Therefore, when any language is phased out at an institution, the decision has huge ramifications and the decision cannot be readily accepted. The court today confirmed this point with the ruling and confirmed the right to access to Afrikaans mother-language education at both public and private institutions for students of all income groups.”
- * Inside Education