Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

A judge has dismissed an attempt to overturn Stellenbosch University’s new language policy‚ which dispenses with Afrikaans as the primary language of instruction.

Judge Daniel Dlodlo said the challenge‚ led by Gelyke Kanse (Equal Chances) and Jan Heunis‚ president of the university convocation‚ aimed to prove that the policy introduced on January 1 would cause the "virtual exclusion of Afrikaans".

In a 48-page judgment after arguments in the High Court in Cape Town‚ Dlodlo said the policy "does not reduce the Afrikaans offering at Stellenbosch University". In fact‚ its goal was to "maintain and if possibly increase the Afrikaans offering, subject to demand and resources".

Heunis argued in court that an "irrational process" was followed in approving the new policy‚ claiming that it was pushed through amid fears violence could break out.

But the university’s advocate‚ Jeremy Muller‚ said a "thorough‚ intensive process" was followed.

Dlodlo‚ who heard the case with Judge Kate Savage‚ said: "The real complaint appears to be the cumulative effect of decisions by multiple universities that negatively impact Afrikaans speakers.

"Perhaps the applicants must take the issue of what is perceived to be a countrywide pattern up with the national government. The point is that Stellenbosch University continues to teach in Afrikaans and the impugned policy requires it to maintain or increase [its] Afrikaans offering."

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