AfriForum loses fight over Unisa language policy

Pretoria - English will for now, remain the medium of tuition at Unisa.

This is after the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Wednesday turned down an urgent application by AfriForum to provisionally interdict Unisa from implementing its English only policy.

While the lobby group lost round one, it is set on fighting the language policy further when it will later this year ask the court to review and set aside Unisa’s English only language policy.

AfriForum wanted to provisionally interdict Unisa from implementing the new language policy until the court has spoken the last word. But Judge Roland Sutherland concluded that first year and other Afrikaans students will not suffer irreparable harm if English remained the only medium at this stage.

He said Afrikaans first years who have no choice but to face up to an English environment at Unisa next year, do not differ from other potential students, whose mother tongue is neither English nor Afrikaans and which constitute the overwhelming majority of students.

“Of course there shall be disappointments and inconvenience at being unable to choose Afrikaans in any undergraduate course. But that is already an occupational hazard of any student at Unisa who prefers Afrikaans because only 300 of the 2 300 possible modules to choose from, are offered in Afrikaans,” the judge said.