The Democratic Alliance (DA) filed a complaint based on the Constitution with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over indigenous-language discrimination at Stellenbosch University.
Also read: Stellenbosch University Maties cycle to aid struggling students
Afrikaans students at the university initially met up with Dr Leon Schreiber, a DA constituency member of parliament for Stellenbosch, and DA leader John Steenhuisen, seeking assistance after “being threatened with disciplinary action if they dared to speak their mother tongue in university residences.”
According to Dr Schreiber, the English-only policy in certain common places and residences infringes on the human rights of Afrikaans-speaking learners at the university.
It became problematic during the orientation week in 2021 and also around the same time this year.
A complaint was initially filed in 2021 with SAHRC, and today 15 March 2023, Dr Schreiber shared the following:
“SAHRC confirmed the DA’s charge that SU ‘unfairly violated the human rights’ of Afrikaans students to ‘freedom of expression, language and culture, equality and to not be discriminated against on the basis of language, and human dignity'”.
“The Commission concluded that SU’s ban on Afrikaans sought to ‘control what language every student should speak in multiple contexts’ which led to ‘absurd and disturbing outcomes.'”
To this effect, the commission has directed Stellenbosch University vice-chancellor Rector Wim de Villiers to:
- Write to all residence heads informing them to not implement English-only or similar language policies
- Issue a written public apology to Afrikaans students who were violated
- To ensure that no residence implements policies in future that would prevent any student from speaking a particular language
- The institution should also provide training to residence leadership on the issue
Cape Town Metro Police officers allegedly involved in business robbery
Picture: Getty Images