OPINION

Ruling over UFS language policy paves way for ConCourt case – AfriForum & Solidarity

Movements argue that university council will not achieve integration according to class and transformation by expunging Afrikaans

AfriForum and Solidarity ruling over UFS language policy paves way for Constitutional Court case

20 April 2017 

AfriForum and Solidarity’s legal team today submitted an application with the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the Highest Court of Appeal’s ruling over the language policy of the University of the Free State (UFS). The institutions asked the court to dismiss the UFS’s decision to adopt a new language policy.

This application follows after the ruling of the Highest Court of Appeal on 28 March 2017 in favour of the UFS’s newly accepted language policy according to which English will, at the cost of Afrikaans, be phased in from 2017 as the only primary language of instruction.

Against the background of the constitutional order for diversity (including linguistic diversity) to be promoted, as well as the entrenched right to education in a language of choice that is reasonably feasible, AfriForum and Solidarity argues that the UFS council will not achieve integration according to class and transformation by expunging Afrikaans education.

In its ruling the Highest Court of Appeal granted that the erosion of the position of Afrikaans as language of instruction is a legitimate cause for concern and that the differences over the language policy will lead to complex constitutional questions. AfriForum and Solidarity believe these viewpoints create room for success with the application to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Their legal team is ready to argue in this court for the right of Afrikaans-speaking students to receive Afrikaans instruction. The decision of the Constitutional Court is eagerly awaited.

Issued by Alana Bailey, Deputy CEO, AfriForum, 20 April 2017