Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Thursday gave his opinion on Twitter, saying in his personal capacity - not as finance minister - he disagreed, saying the decision will be regretted in 30 years’ time.
Tuks was traditionally an Afrikaans-medium university. Of late, classes have been given in English.
The university decided that English would be used as its primary language in future with those who are registered from this year not having the option to study in Afrikaans.
Mboweni was criticised on the social media platform, most notably by EFF leader Julius Malema, who disapproved.
Political analyst Levy Ndou criticised Mboweni, saying his tweet was not well considered. “It is very important for all of us to preserve our history, culture and languages. That should, however, not be done at the expense of other citizens, or done in order to bring back the wounds of the apartheid past,” he said.
The minister is well known for his views, some of which are deemed contrary.
Last year, Mboweni called for the embattled SAA to be shut down, and he condemned editors for the publication of details of Malema’s family address.
AfriForum has criticised the university’s language policy decision and called for students to be allowed to study in their mother tongue.
University spokesperson Rikus Delport said between 1992 and 2015 the number of students who registered Afrikaans as their home language decreased by over 50%, prompting the change.
“It’s aimed at facilitating social cohesion on the campus. We will continue to encourage multilingualism to foster unity and provide equal opportunities for students of all South African languages. We encourage the practice of assisting students in their home language where possible.”
AfriForum Youth said: “Our viewpoint is not to have only Afrikaans classes at universities; we believe there is a national responsibility on universities to develop other African languages into academic languages.”