The Constitutional Court reached the decision to reinstate Afrikaans as a learning and teaching medium at Unisa, and ruled that the university has until 2023 to change its revised language policy.
According to IOL, the court passed this judgment on Wednesday, which found the university in contravention of Section 29(2) of the Constitution, which relates to the right to receive an education in an official language or language of choice.
This comes after Unisa decided to phase out Afrikaans as a dual medium of teaching and learning, and in 2016, lobby group Afriforum went to court to have the university’s decision reversed.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) rejected this ruling, saying that Afrikaans shouldn’t be given special treatment over other African languages. The party further expressed that the court “ignored the linkage between race and language in the context of the country’s history.”
The EFF said that if Afrikaans is restored as a dual medium of instruction at Unisa, then all South African universities should introduce African languages as a medium of instruction, including Swahili.
“The selective choice of Afrikaans as a superior language perpetuates superiority over indigenous languages, and is an insult to the standing of Africans and their heritage of rich languages.
“In the grace period to 2023 determined by the court, we call on Unisa to retrace its steps correctly and with lawful and procedural precision, do away with the 1976 language of national oppression, racial segregation, exclusion and supremacy,” the party adds.
EFF STATEMENT ON THE JUDICIARY PRONOUNCEMENT ON AFRIKAANS AT UNISA
‘The selective choice of Afrikaans as a superior language perpetuates superiority over indigenous languages, and is an insult to the standing of Africans and their heritage of rich languages.’ pic.twitter.com/OWPBLUOmln
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) September 24, 2021
According to The Citizen, Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs, had earlier said the ruling was a huge victory for Afrikaans.
“Afrikaans is slowly but surely deteriorating and the other nine official languages are not developing fast enough that the right to more native speakers could expand,” Bailey said.