South Africa: College sued over Afrikaans

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Jan 12 17:24:35 UTC 2007

College sued over Afrikaans
11/01/2007 17:15  - (SA)

Guy Jepson

Nelspruit - An agricultural college faces an R80 000 lawsuit for failing
to teach a student in Afrikaans. Marietjie Pienaar of Barberton says she
is suing the Lowveld College of Agriculture to recover two years of study
fees paid by her son, Harold, 23. Pienaar claims the Nelspruit-based
college broke its own guidelines by failing to provide separate lectures,
practical courses and examinations in Afrikaans. When it failed to address
her complaints she removed her son, a second-year student, last September
because "he could not cope with the English".

Got no reaction

Pienaar said: "We are claiming back the fees for his first and second
years. They broke the contract and they wasted two years of his life.,"
She enrolled her son in 2005, but said he encountered difficulties "when
the college employed new staff who could not speak Afrikaans" and lectures
had to be in English. "The problem became worse last year. We contacted
the college and decided to speak to the staff there, but we got no
reaction whatsoever. "My husband and I appointed a lawyer in June 2006 and
started a legal process. "Up to September we got no reaction so we decided
to take him out. He was disappointed because he was interested in

Pienaar said she believed there were "nine or 11 Afrikaans students" at
the college and that some of their parents were also unhappy about the
lectures being only in English. Pienaar's lawyer, Hennie Maree, confirmed
that a summons had been drafted and would be sent to the provincial
department of agriculture, under whose jurisdiction the college fell,
within the next few days.

'It is college's baby'

"This is a test case. We are seeking to recover the fees and other
expenses wasted because of the college's failure to comply with its own
guidelines. The amount is approximately R80 000," he said. Provincial
agriculture spokesperson Freddy Ngobe declined to comment. "The college is
dealing with this issue. For now, it's their baby," he said. The college's
head, George Xaba, refused to comment on Pienaar's claim or explain the
college's language policy.,9294,2-7-1442_2053761,00.html

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