STELLENBOSCH University’s failure to oppose a court application to give Afrikaans equal status will continue to put black students at a disadvantage, lobby group Open Stellenbosch said on Monday.
Late last year, the university council, which has oversight responsibilities over academic and operational issues, decided to give English and Afrikaans equal status at the institution. The rector’s management team had called for the adoption of English as the primary language of communication.
Open Stellenbosch argued the policy "safeguards Afrikaner culture" and in so doing, excludes black students.
Pro-Afrikaans lobby group AfriForum Youth — which was behind the court action — said it had discovered that some faculties offered tuition only in English despite the policy that gave English and Afrikaans the same status.
AfriForum lawyer Daniel Rossouw said the interim court order meant that the university would be required to give English and Afrikaans equal status by March 29.
Open Stellenbosch spokesman Majaletje Mathura said the university had said its decision not to oppose AfriForum’s first interdict was because it had been waiting for the council’s meeting on February 20 to authorise its "flexible" implementation of the language policy. But the university had failed to oppose the interdict, despite having received the council’s approval, he said.
The university’s delay went against the senate’s decision to support an offering that was primarily in English, he said.
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