AfriForum ConCourt Bid Successful, Unisa To Reinstate Afrikaans as a Medium of Learning

AfriForum ConCourt Bid Successful, Unisa To Reinstate Afrikaans as a Medium of Learning

  • AfriForum has welcomed the ruling by the Constitutional Court to uphold a decision ordering Afrikaans to be reinstated as a medium of teaching and learning at Unisa
  • Unisa changed its language policy in 2016, which saw Afrikaans being excluded altogether in its language policy
  • Unisa, through its legal representative, welcomed the ruling which gives the University until the start of the 2023 academic year to review its policy

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In a landmark Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruling on Wednesday, the University of South Africa (Unisa) has been instructed to change its language policy to include Afrikaans.

SABC News reported that the legal team representing Unisa, the largest open distance learning institution in Africa, stated that although the apex court ruled against their client, the institution will comply with the judgment.

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AfriForum, Ruling, Constitutional Court, Decision, Afrikaans, Reinstate, Medium, Teaching and learning, Unisa, Language policy, Afrikaans
Unisa has until 2023 to review its language policy after previously excluding Afrikaans as a medium of teaching and learning. Image: Bryan Sandrock Architects.
Source: Getty Images

As Briefly News understands, the ConCourt upheld a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against Unisa's move to abandon learning and teaching in Afrikaans.

The court declared that Unisa was in contravention of Section 29(2) of the Constitution, which resolves that students of an institution, in this case, one of higher learning, have the right to receive an education in a language of choice, albeit official.

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The ConCourt said there was no evidence Unisa applied the section when controversially choosing to change its policy in 2016.

The judgement further stated that the language policy was not adopted in a constitutionally compliant manner.

ConCourt decision welcomed by both parties

The attorney representing Unisa in the matter Mojalefa Motalane welcomed the ruling which gives the University until the start of the 2023 academic year to revise its policy.

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"We are reasonably satisfied that the ConCourt exercised some wisdom to suspend its order and allow our client to make a decision," expressed Mojalefa.
"[The client] will decide whether it reverts to the old policy or introduce a new one altogether which will allow it to follow all the right processes under the constitution.”

According to News24, AfriForum, a civil rights organisation that mobilises Afrikaners, Afrikaans-speaking people and other minority groups in South Africa, also welcomed the ruling.

"The organisation is happy with the decision. It is not only a confirmation for Afrikaans as a language of teaching and learning but also for all other languages," said Marjorie van Schalkwyk, AfriForum's attorney.

ConCourt repudiates DA's application to stop IEC from reopening candidate nominations

In related news, Briefly News previously reported that the ConCourt on Monday, 20 September, brought forth its judgement regarding whether or not the IEC can reopen lists of candidates before the polls on 1 November.

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The ConCourt ruled that the IEC's candidate nomination system is not unlawful, invalid or unconstitutional.

The DA made its way to the ConCourt to oppose the second chance for parties to put forth their submissions of councillor candidate names which was a decision made by the IEC.

This will allow for more people to contest the local government elections. The application has since been dismissed by the ConCourt.

Source: Briefly News

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