[lg policy] South Africa:Nzimande's caution over UP’s language policy applauded

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 11:06:51 EDT 2016

Nzimande's caution over UP’s language policy applauded

   - South Africa
   - Monday 8 August 2016 - 6:27am

File: AfriForum members protest in support of #AfrikaansSalBly at the
University of Pretoria on February 23, 2016. Photo: eNCA / Bafana Nzimande

PRETORIA – An amendment to the University of Pretoria’s statutes will not
be considered until legal certainty about the constitutionality and
legality of the university’s new language policy has been established
civil rights group AfriForum said on Sunday.

AfriForum had achieved interim success in the legal battle against
implementation of the UP’s new language policy, AfriForum deputy CEO Alana
Bailey said.

*WATCH:* Tuks closes over language dispute scuffles, obtains court order

The new policy, adopted on June 22, stipulated that English would be the
primary language of instruction at the university with effect from next
year. This amounted to a “gross violation of the language rights of
Afrikaans students” at the UP
Therefore, AfriForum had decided to launch a court application to have the
decision reviewed and set aside, she said.

For the new language policy to be officially adopted, an amendment to the
UP’s institutional statute – ratified by Higher Education and Training
Minister Blade Nzimande – was required.

Consequently, AfriForum had asked Mzimande to hold back on publication of
the amended statute pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The Higher
Education and Training Department has given a written undertaking that the
amendment of the UP’s statutes would not be considered by the department
“until legal certainty about the constitutionality and legality of the new
language policy of the University of Pretoria has been established”, Bailey

Nzimande had therefore committed not to take any decision about the
amendment of the statute until a High Court judgment was made in the case
between AfriForum and trade union Solidarity, and the UP.

AfriForum welcomed this undertaking. “It is essential that the new policy
should not be implemented before the legal action has been concluded.
Students need to have certainty about the university’s language (offering)
before they register for study in 2017.

“AfriForum thanks the minister for his stance that recognises and protects
this right, as opposed to the university management which seems to be set
on railroading the implementation process,” Bailey said.

AfriForum and Solidarity were waiting for a court date for their case
against the UP.


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