[lg policy] South Africa: Afriforum Youth accuses Tshwane University of technology of discriminating against the Afrikaans language.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 21 15:20:52 UTC 2010

TUT accused of language policy discrimination
20 January 2010 - 18:54
By Jacaranda Newsteam

Afriforum Youth accuses Tshwane University of technology of
discriminating against the Afrikaans language.

Afriforum has accused the Tshwane University of Technology of refusing
to sign a notice of receipt for a lawyer's letter from the legal team
of Afriforum Youth as the letter was in Afrikaans.  The letter, which
was addressed on behalf of a TUT student and Afriforum member, is a
response to the institution's refusal to accept the student's
dissertation which is also in Afrikaans. The student has, according to
Afriforum, completed much of his Master's Degree in Afrikaans and his
supervisors have informed the institution that they are prepared to
grade the Afrikaans dissertation.

The letter was handed to TUT's Office of the Ombudsman, but was
returned to Afriforum at the request that it should be written in
English. According to Gilbert Mokwatedi, TUT's head of Corporate
Communications, the receiver of the letter at the Ombudsman was within
her linguistic rights to point out that she could not sign for
something she did not understand.  However Afriforum says that TUT's
refusal of the letter is symbolic of TUT's negative attitude towards
Afrikaans. "TUT's language policy explicitly states that all the
official languages should be supported and promoted where it is
reasonably do-able, "says Ernst Roets of Afriforum Youth.

Mokwatedi explains that in terms of the institutions language policy
which was approved in 2005 the institution's medium of instruction,
teaching, communication and documentation is English. Furthermore, the
Ombudsman does not deal with attorneys or legal representatives. Thus,
by sending a letter through its legal representatives, Afriforum has
automatically turned the matter into a legal dispute. Hence, the
university can no longer comment on the specifics of the case.
Afriforum has however considered the severity of the matter and they
will provide the university with the English letter and continue with
legal proceedings against the institution.


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