Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has hit back at the Democratic Alliance for accusing him of “hating” Afrikaans.
This follows after the opposition party’s member of parliament Leon Schreiber filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against Nzimande over his “hateful and unconstitutional insistence on defining Afrikaans as a foreign language” in South Africa.
Afrikaans became a hot topic again after the Constitutional Court last week ruled in favour of AfriForum in the case for the retention of Afrikaans as a primary language of instruction at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Nzimande said the DA has forever been narrowly preoccupied with Afrikaans only, with very little to say about the important matter of the development of the nine other official languages that had been suppressed and deliberately underdeveloped under colonialism and apartheid.
He said he recognised Afrikaans as one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, but added that he could not allow it to be used as a “means of exclusion and oppression, nor as a means to pursue a narrow and racist Afrikaner nationalist agenda, as was the case under apartheid”.
“Afrikaans should and must be located in a democratic South Africa and be rescued from a white right-wing agenda. This should not be viewed as being in conflict with promoting mother tongue instruction in a democratic South Africa,” Nzimande said.
The minister said he would study both the apex court’s judgement on the Unisa language policy and the DA’s complaint filed with the Human Rights Commission.
“In consultation with my legal team, I will communicate further on the implications of the Constitutional Court judgment on the entire Post School Education and Training sector,” he added.