Afrikaans mustn't fall, sePedi must rise - Afriforum

2016-02-28 16:00
(via Web)

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Johannesburg - Afriforum has called on South Africans to promote multilingualism at higher education institutions, rather than asking for Afrikaans to be scrapped.

The civil organisation's deputy CEO Cornelius van Rensburg made the statement on Sunday afternoon at a media briefing in Pretoria.

Afriforum and trade union Solidarity had met with leaders of the African National Congress in and its alliance partners in Pretoria, to discuss the state of higher education institutions in Gauteng, specifically at the University of Pretoria (UP).

"At the University of Pretoria Afrikaans mustn't fall, sePedi must rise and you will find us at the forefront of that struggle to achieve that. We are committed to that," Van Rensburg told reporters.

Groups of students at the university have clashed over opposing viewpoints on the university's language policy with the Economic Freedom Fighters' Student Command (EFF SC) body saying it would not let the university open again until things had changed.

Black students also complained that the environment is racist for them.

On 20 February the university said its management had scheduled a series of meetings with student representative bodies on 18 and 19 February to provide feedback on the language policy task team report and the proposed amendments to the language policy.

It proposed that English be the primary language of instruction in all lectures, that it promote multilingualism to build social cohesion and that Afrikaans and Sepedi be used as additional support to students in tutorials, practicals and discussions, but the meeting was postponed.

Twenty seven people were arrested for public violence the week before last.

Charges against three were dropped and 24 were expected to stand trial. Their case was postponed to April 7, but the university had remained closed.

Vice Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey has vowed to clamp down on violent protests with the help of police.

On Sunday, Van Rensburg said according to Afriforum Youth members at the campus, those causing disruptions on campus were members of the EFF SC.

"It has been the view of the Afrikaans students, that it's not black students that have been attacking them in class, it's been EFF students.

"It's their view that this is not a racial issue, it's a political one."

The EFF SC was not part of the multi-party meeting, however they had been invited, Van Rensburg said.

He said all those present at the talks agreed that they wanted peace restored on campuses and that the UP should reopen its doors on Monday.

"You can't communicate by throwing people with rocks, you come with an argument."

Van Rensburg said the Afrikaner community was well aware of the sensitivity around the issue of having Afrikaans as a language of instruction in the education sector.

"It's important for us... especially when you touch on the language issue, to think of 1976, and I can promise you that Afrikaners are sensitive towards the issues of 1976.

"We do not take it lightly when 1976 is mentioned... we should learn from the mistakes of 1976 and not repeat them in new ways."

He said preventing someone from learning in their indigenous language was denying them a basic human right.

"They are treating you as if you are not human, and we cannot have that in a democracy."

Read more on:    afriforum  |  pretoria  |  university protests

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