Interdict granted against SU over language policy - AfriForum Youth

University ordered to implement current policy which is supposed to treat English and Afrikaans equally

AfriForum Youth obtains urgent interdict against US

11 March 2016

The Western Cape High Court today granted an interdict in terms of which the University of Stellenbosch (US) is ordered to implement its language policy – which, broadly-speaking, allows for the equality of Afrikaans and English as mediums of instruction – with effect 29 March 2016.

This order follows after AfriForum Youth submitted a court application in which they claimed that the US neither executed its language policy and language plan, nor respected a written undertaking that the University had given AfriForum Youth in February this year.

Mr George Steyn, Chairperson of the US Council, admitted that the language in which some modules are presented does not comply with the language specifications contained in the 2016 year book. According to him, there are 268 modules that do not comply with the language specifications in the respective faculties.

In an affidavit submitted to Court, he claimed that the Executive Committee of the Council and the Rector’s management team accepted that the US acted unlawfully in terms of the deviations from the language specifications of the Yearbook. 

AfriForum Youth also requested an order that the Council’s decision of 20 February 2016, according to which the language policy may be applied flexibly, be declared null and void and set aside. According to Steyn, the Executive Committee of the Council and the Rector’s management team also accepted that this decision was legally contestable, as it constituted a change to the language plan without having followed the prescribed legal process or without consulting AfriForum, as the US had undertaken to do.

Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching – who has been singled out in AfriForum Youth’s application papers together with Prof de Villiers, the Rector, as those behind the deviation from the language policy – confirmed Steyn’s affidavit in an affidavit of his own, to the extent that it related to him (Schoonwinkel) and the Rector’s management team.  

“This is a triumph for the Afrikaans-speaking community in South-Africa,” said Hein Gonzales, Spokesperson for AfriForum Youth. “It is clear that Prof de Villiers and his managing team does not have the interests of students and the University at heart.”

Statement issued by Hein Gonzales, AfriForum Youth, 11 March 2016