The Court of Appeal’s recent decision to declare Unisa’s policy on Afrikaans as unconstitutional is considered a huge victory for Afrikaans, Afrikaans students and language rights in the country.
That’s how the civil rights organization AfriForum said on Wednesday after the court declared the university’s language policy that essentially abolished Afrikaans unconstitutional and unlawful.
It was previously reported that the language policy was set aside which means that Unisa must reinstate Afrikaans as a language of instruction.
According to Alana Bailey, head of cultural affairs at AfriForum, the verdict is after a battle of almost five years of huge interest for all Afrikaans students in the country, but also for the future of Afrikaans as a high-functioning language.
“The fact that the Supreme Court of Appeal delivered this ruling is of great importance. This is the highest court that has yet ruled in favor of Afrikaans education at tertiary level, ”Bailey pointed out.
The DA also welcomed the verdict.
“The DA has always been a proponent of mother tongue education and will never abandon the constitutional principle that every South African has the right to receive education, wherever possible, in the official language of their choice,” said Prof. Belinda Bozzoli, MP and DA’s shadow minister of higher education, science and technology, said in a statement.
According to Bozzoli, the opposition party will now conduct an in-depth study of the appeals court decision as it could set an important precedent for the protection of language rights, mother tongue education and the development of indigenous languages in South Africa.
Bailey believes the ruling emphasizes that Afrikaans also has a place on state-supported campuses.