The ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in favour of the University of the Free State’s (UFS’s) implementation of monolingual English education in certain faculties from 2017, is regarded by AfriForum and Solidarity to be a temporary setback for the state of constitutionally-recognised language rights and Afrikaans as medium of instruction in South Africa.
The SCA today ruled that the implementation process may continue until the dispute over the merits of the decisions by the University’s Senate and Council in favour of English as primary medium of instruction will be heard in 2017.
According to Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, the legal team’s focus is now on the case of the merits of the decisions on the language policy itself.
“A full bench of judges had already ruled in July 2016 that the transition to a policy that offers English-only instruction was not only to the detriment of Afrikaans, but of all indigenous South African languages.”
According to Johan Kruger, Deputy Chief Executive of Solidarity, it is essential to recognise and protect language rights in order to promote quality education, mutual relations and stability. “The violation of rights cannot be in anyone’s interest.”
AfriForum and Solidarity regard Afrikaans-speaking students’ access to Afrikaans instruction to be of the utmost importance and is prepared to defend this right on all platforms.
Both organisations also support the developing of private institutions that offer Afrikaans education and encourage the public to support both approaches.