Human rights group AfriForum is taking the University of Pretoria on with a legal battle to hold the rights of Afrikaans-speaking students.
This after the decision of the council of the university that English will be the primary language of instruction at the university as of 2017.
AfriForum’s deputy CEO, Alana Bailey, said the party would continue consultations with its legal team, AfriForum Youth and other stakeholders to ensure that the constitutional language rights of Afrikaans-speaking students and prospective Afrikaans students would not be violated by the decision.
Earlier this afternoon, the council of the University of Stellenbosch similarly decided to phase out Afrikaans as primary language of instruction. On Monday, AfriForum, AfriForum Youth and Solidarity opposed a comparable decision of the council of the University of the Free State in the Bloemfontein high court. In this case, judgment has been reserved.
Bailey said Afrikaans had become a political pawn on campuses.
“The spirit of the constitution, proven best educational practices, the latest trends in education, as well as internationally recognised language rights, are all being ignored in favour of the ideological agenda against the language.”
The clashes against the Afrikaans language and culture at university first flared up in February, leading to violence and suspension of classes.
Bailey added that AfriForum and anyone who felt strongly about the survival of Afrikaans as a high-function language had a duty to oppose these decisions in any way possible within the framework of the law, “and that is exactly what we intend to do”.
“Furthermore, we call on the public to support private tertiary education institutions, for example Akademia, as the only sustainable alternative for students who want to study in Afrikaans.”