UFS legal costs might run into millions


The legal costs of the University of the Free State (UFS) in the court battle about its language policy might run into millions.
This comes after the university filed an appeal and received two cost orders since the battle started. Meanwhile, calls to universities to cut costs drastically, have been made. Dennis George, of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), says higher learning institutions must prioritize their expenditure as they can face serious financial constraints. This was highlighted again after an announcement by Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, about the fee increase next year. This has led to a shutdown of the UFS campus by students protesting against the fee increase.
Courant has sent a set of questions to the UFS about the costs of the legal battle, but all spokesperson Lacea Loader was willing to say is that the costs incurred are necessary and must be weighed against the importance of this issue. Detailed questions about the costs have not been answered. The other party in the court battle, AfriForum, said it could not provide figures at this stage. Alana Bailey, deputy CEO, said the legal costs do not only include court appearances, but also legal opinions, consultations with affected parties and costs for travelling between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and that it is therefore quite an expensive case. – Cathy Dlodlo