National 11.9.2016 09:48 am

Court challenge against UFS anti-Afrikaans policy

The University of Free State main building after it was trashed during protests. Picture: EARL COETZEE.

The University of Free State main building after it was trashed during protests. Picture: EARL COETZEE.

AfriForum and Solidarity believe it is unconstitutional to deny students the right to study in Afrikaans.

Civil rights organisation AfriForum and trade union Solidarity will on Monday approach the high court in Bloemfontein with an urgent application against implementation of the new 2017 language policy of the University of the Free State (UFS).

In terms of this policy, Afrikaans will be phased out as medium of instruction at the institution, AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey said on Sunday.

The high court ruled on July 21 that the policy was unconstitutional and that its adoption should therefore be set aside. However, the university management applied to both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the verdict. While a response was pending, the adoption of the new policy remained in place and the management could technically continue with its implementation.

Bailey said the honourable course of action would have been for management to have halted the implementation – especially in light of the damning nature of the judgment against both their actions during the adoption process, as well as the discriminatory nature of the policy content.

However, the UFS did not want to give any undertaking of this nature. Prospective students were therefore left in the dark about whether they could register to study in Afrikaans in 2017 and also whether they would be able to complete such studies in Afrikaans in the course of the coming years.

“Prospective students are being discriminated against most unfairly. Registration time is running out and they need to know what their options are. We will therefore request the court on Monday to protect their interests on an urgent basis,” Bailey said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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