Judge: Removal of Afrikaans at UNISA unlawful and unconstitutional

Judge: Removal of Afrikaans at UNISA unlawful and unconstitutional

- Lobby group AfriForum has won its appeal against the University of South Africa

- The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at the remote learning institution was unlawful

- The appeal was brought by AfriForum in 2018 after a Gauteng High Court ruling in favour of UNISA's language policy change

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The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has ruled that the removal of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at the University of South Africa (UNISA) was unlawful and unconstitutional.

The appeal was brought by lobby group AfriForum following a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 26 April, 2018 in favour of a language policy determining that English be the primary language of instruction at this institution

Delivering judgment electronically on Tuesday evening, SCA president,# Judge Mandisa Maya ruled that the remote learning institution's decision was unlawful.

University of South Africa (UNISA)

University of South Africa (UNISA)
Source: UGC

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Maya said:

"The university's decision to replace its dual-medium language policy with an English-only policy infringed the principle of legality and was unlawful."

TimesLIVE reported that the judgment instructed UNISA to “prominently publish” on its website and in three Afrikaans newspapers, in addition to e-mailing students, a notice including:

  • A full list of the modules that were on offer in Afrikaans as of April 28, 2016;
  • Offering all prospective students for the next academic year admission in such modules as presented on first-year level; and
  • Offering all existing students, if they were enrolled in any one of those courses or would have enrolled for the subsequent year's course available in Afrikaans - but had to follow the module in English - a choice to enrol on the basis that they may follow the module in Afrikaans until completion of their studies.

Henk Maree, spokesperson for AfriForum, said in November that the appeal was essential as the circumstances of UNISA are unique, as there are no classes, which cannot result in segregation of students.

News24 reported that AfriForum said UNISA's decision to change the language policy "violated the rights, by its count, of 30 000 existing and prospective Afrikaans students, which included white, black and coloured students from Afrikaans-speaking backgrounds".

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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