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Durban - There has been mixed reaction to trade union Solidarity’s plan to build an Afrikaans-only university in Centurion, Gauteng.

A sod-turning ceremony took place last week, paving the way for construction of Sol-Tech, a private vocational training college founded on Christian values.

Solidarity has been criticised for its move, but said it had no energy to argue with naysayers.

This comes after Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi raised questions about the motive behind the move. Lesufi said the language policy was taking the country backwards to an apartheid era.

However, Connie Mulder, head of research at the union, defended the language policy. He said Solidarity had no time to argue with politicians because the intention was to upgrade tertiary learning through hi-tech technology, without focusing on race issues. He confirmed that students were required to abide by the university’s Afrikaans-only language policy.

“We have no intention to discriminate according to race, but Sol-Tech is a private tertiary educational institution, as envisioned under article 29 of the SA Constitution, providing technical training in Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages,” he said.

Mulder said Solidarity was willing to share its fund-raising model. He said Sol-Tech was being built without government funding and Solidarity members donated R10 every month. Mulder said the requirements for students to study at Sol-Tech were to have at least Grade 9, be willing to study in the Pretoria area and adhere to the language policy.

Professor Luka David Mosoma, chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, said it was against the exclusion of other communities through language.

“We should be working towards social cohesion. Every institution should be inclusive to everyone.”

Sunday Tribune