AfriForum to take Unisa’s Council in court over abolishing Afkikaans
A legal action is looming up against UNISA due to the decision that was taken by the University to make English the only language of instruction from 2017. This decision was taken in April this year and the letters of objection to the move has been ignored by UNISA since then.
The right of over 30 000 Afrikaans speaking student to study in their mother tongue could soon be tested in court very soon. UNISAs forum for Afrikaans and the civil rights Afriforum reacted by governing the university council and management an ultimatum. UNISA was given until 6 July to issue an unequivocal undertaking to that the implementation of its decision to make English the only language of tuition to be provisionary suspended. If this does not happen, an urgent court application would be lodged against the Varsity council and Management.
Alana Bailey, deputy CEO of Afriforum responsible for language rights said ‘the decision to remove afrikaans was taken despite urgent written objections by UNISAs forum for Afrikaans, the objections to this decision were blatantly ignored” Alana said.
She also contended that UNISAs decision was not merely unconstitutional but also unjust. AfriForums lawyers had demanded the provisional suspension of the decision in the letter to the UNISA council chairman and management, pending he finalization of an urgent review application in court. “The urgency of the matter is the fact that students have already planned for their studies in 2017 and they should have certainty about UNISAs language of instruction” Said Bailey.
AfriForum will launch an urgent court application to support its application for a review of the language decision should it happen that Unisa does not react to the letter of demand.
“The unique nature of Institution and its students is what makes this matter important, students are often employed adults who are trying to better their qualifications. Some live in communities where English skills are lacking. Choosing Afrikaans is the only way to serve such communities.
Bailey said constitution recognized the right of students to study in their language of choice where it was practical. “the fact that even today Afrikaans is being used as a medium of construction at Unisa proves such feasibility,” said Bailey.
Their unilateral parent decision to abolish Afrikaans, the management of Unisa have failed a particularly vulnerable student community. Afriforum will do everything in its power to protect these students,” concludes Bailey.