Supreme Court of Appeal reserve judgment in UFS language policy appeal 

SA Supreme Court of Appeal, Bloemfontein. Photo: André Grobler

Aspects such as irreparable harm and prejudice suffered by a party must be based on facts, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) heard on Thursday.

This was submitted by counsel of the University of the Free State (UFS) in argument in their appeal hearing in the SCA on Thursday. A full bench of five judges was hearing argument in the appeal against High Court judgments in favour of AfriForum and Solidarity regarding the implementation of the university’s new language policy for 2017.

The new policy will eventually result in English being the mainstream instruction language on campus. Counsel for the UFS, Jeremy Gauntlett, argued among others that the lower court has overlooked a crucial fact in its case and in judgment in that the new policy will be implemented on a pilot basis.

He argued that AfriForum has failed to show that students in these three pilot faculties will suffer irreparable harm from next year. AfriForum’s counsel, Johan du Toit, submitted the civil right group’s litigation was not premature.

He was answering questions from the bench on missing aspects of prejudice towards AfriForum and Solidarity in their papers. The judges wanted to know whether the aspect of prejudice will not happen after the language policy is implemented. Several students and academic personnel attended the hearing at court.

The court’s judgment was reserved for a later date.