[lg policy] South Africa: UP language process a smokescreen for an English-only policy – AfriForum Tuks

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed May 25 11:10:31 EDT 2016

UP language process a smokescreen for an English-only policy – AfriForum
Henrico Barnard |
24 May 2016
Organisation had no other choice but to distance itself from language
policy work group, says Henrico Barnard

*UP language process a smokescreen for an English-only language policy*

*24 May 2016*

If Tuks students, personnel and alumni won’t stand up now, the days of
Afrikaans at Tuks are numbered.

These are the words of AfriForum Tuks after the organisation withdrew from
the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) language policy workgroup. According to
Henrico Barnard, Spokesperson for AfriForum Tuks, the organisation had no
other choice but to distance itself from the stealthy activities of this
workgroup. This follows after a provisional proposal by the language policy
workgroup has been circulated that advocates an English-only language
policy (see attached).

After the EFF and DA had withdrawn from the language policy workgroup,
AfriForum Tuks tried in vain to influence the process positively. “We
worked hard to find a solution through which all students could be
accommodated, but our rights and needs are not taken into consideration at
all. There are now no registered student organisation who is part of the
language policy workgroup,” said Barnard.

The composition of the language policy work group has been a problem right
from the start. It does not represent the broad campus community, but was
hijacked by the Law Lecturer Prof.  Danie Brand, as well as Quraysha
Ismail-Sooliman, Ulrike Kistner, Helen Inglis and Nisha Pillikar. They are
part of the UP’s Academics for Change (UPAC).

Barnard said that, in the meetings of the language policy work group,
students were exposed to the above people’s intolerance and bouts of anger
when Afrikaans was being discussed. UPAC is an informal organisation that
played a key role in the destabilisation of the Tuks campus earlier the
year. UPAC enjoys the sympathy of various members of UP Management. “Every
time that we try to bring these problems to Prof. Anton Kock’s attention,
we are simply pushed over,” said Barnard.

With more than 13 000 students, the Afrikaans student community is the
largest single language group at Tuks. Despite this fact, the work group
rejects the pro-multilingual opinions as minority opinions in favour of an
English-only language policy. The UP is therefore busy depriving students
of their constitutional rights.

AfriForum Tuks is worried that that UP Management does not play open cards
with students. During the February discussions that AfriForum and the ANC
had with the Rector, Prof. Cheryl de La Rey, and the Registrar, Prof. Niek
Grove, it was agreed that the positions of Afrikaans and Sepedi would be
safe at UP. However, UP Management has it on record that they’d rather
prefer an English language policy for fear of violence. Violence therefore
now dictates UP’s management decisions.

“UP is not interested in a fair language process. The current exercise is a
half-hearted attempt to obtain the buy-in for the demands of violent
groups. This management practice has indeed resulted in the climate of
violence created in February. With the new intuition fee increase to be
discussed soon, Prof. de la Rey’s capitulation in terms of the language
issue will give impetus to a renewed #FeesMustFall campaign,” said
Marthinus Jacobs, Chairperson of AfriForum Tuks.

AfriForum Youth will submit a memorandum to the University in which our
language policy recommendations are included. In the meantime, AfriForum
has already instructed its legal team to investigate the legitimacy of the
language policy process.

*Issued by Henrico Barnard, Tukss Spokesperson, AfriForum Youth, 24 May
2016  *


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