16/02/2016. University of Pretoria's EFF student council chairperson stands outside the university entrance holds his fist in the air. Picture: Masi Losi

Pretoria - The University of Pretoria will feel the wrath of the EFF student command (EFFSC) if it does not change its language policy with immediate effect.

The party on Tuesday threatened to bring the institution to its knees should its demands regarding languages not be met.

It is demanding that the university scrap Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, and has accused the institution of dragging its feet in addressing the dual language system. This, according to the organisation, perpetuated cultural supremacy and inadvertently undermined other cultures on the campus.

“We have been invited by management to a dialogue about the report which the task team on languages has concluded.

“We are not going there to negotiate with them, but to get our point across,” said Kabelo Mahlobogwane, EFFSC Tuks leader.

He told the Pretoria News the issue was first submitted with other demands during the #FeesMustFall protest last October. “It’s been too long.

“The university has been using delay tactics and has not returned to us with a solid plan,” he said.

Mahlobogwane explained that the languages used at Tuks - English and Afrikaans - marginalised students who did not subscribe to either language, and the cultures they influenced.

“Some students do not speak Afrikaans, but they have to subscribe to the cultural norms attached to it. We find that this is not fair because it alienates them.

“They are forced to take part in activities they are not familiar with because that is the culture of the university,” he said.

Their next step of action would be based on the outcome of the report due to be discussed with them on Friday. However, management of the university said the task team concluded the requested review in December and submitted a report to the executive and senate towards the end of January.

The university’s chairman of the language policy task team, Professor Norman Duncan, said there was a consensus in support of key findings and recommendations of the task team. “The recommendations will now be submitted to faculties and student representative bodies for comment, after which it will go to the university council for consideration,” Duncan said.

Details of the proposed changes to the university’s language policy would be shared with staff and students during the course of the consultations that would be scheduled.

AfriForum Youth at the university, meanwhile, vowed to protect Afrikaans students and their rights, and said it had taken precautionary measures to ensure their safety. “We are also looking at ways to ensure students’ right to education, as well as education in Afrikaans,” said Morné Mostert, of AfriForum Youth.He alluded to the unrest caused by the #FeesMustFall, during which classes were disrupted, and said the organisation would prevent a repetition of that incident.

He said they submitted a letter to management about two weeks ago, warning the university of a possible attack on Afrikaans students.

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Pretoria News