- The DA has accused University of Stellenbosch Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers of failing to provide clear answers on discrimination against Afrikaans students.
- De Villiers appeared before the SA Human Rights Commission on Monday, as part of an inquiry into allegations of the prohibition of the use of Afrikaans.
- De Villiers denied there was an "English only" policy on campus.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) convened an inquiry into alleged violations of a number of rights, including the right to equality on the basis of language and race, which began on Monday.
An inquiry into allegations of discrimination against Afrikaans-speaking students at Stellenbosch University heard that a 2015 comment made by rector and Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers around anglicising the university is not relevant to the current probe.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) convened an inquiry into alleged violations of a number of rights, including the right to equality on the basis of language and race, which commenced on Monday.
The probe followed complaints that students were being prohibited from speaking Afrikaans in private spaces, including residences, bedrooms, on WhatsApp, and on park benches in front of students' residences.
Before the commission on Monday were allegations that De Villiers had supported the full anglicisation of the university in correspondence in 2015.
De Villiers did not answer to the allegations, with SU making representations that personal remarks made several years ago were not relevant to the inquiry into language use at residences and the university's language policy.
The DA had brought the complaint before the SAHRC. In a statement, DA spokesperson Leon Schreiber said: "Although De Villiers brought ten lawyers and officials with him to the trial, he still flatly refused to provide answers about the systemic discrimination against Afrikaans students caused by the current language policy."
He added that De Villiers' silence spoke volumes, and served as an "indirect confirmation that he is on an ideological war to abolish Afrikaans education altogether".
The DA would also testify before the commission, said Schreiber.
De Villiers in his testimony said the university had not banned Afrikaans on campus, adding that the university's language policy was intended to be inclusive.
"The suggestion that students across campus as a matter of university policy have been prevented from speaking Afrikaans is false," said De Villiers.
"There is not a ban on Afrikaans."
According to its policy, language must be used in a way that does not exclude anyone from taking part in formal activities. He added that this often meant English was used in formal settings to accommodate new students in residences.
In the coming weeks, the SAHRC is expected to host sessions with complainants and interested parties.