Minority rights lobby group, Afriforum, has hailed the Constitutional Court's judgment on University of South Africa’s (Unisa’s) monolingual language policy as "a new chapter in the country's history".
The ConCourt upheld the Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling that Unisa's current language policy that recognises English as the primary medium of instruction is unconstitutional and should be changed.
"AfriForum is so elated will the judgement of the Constitutional Court against monolingual language policy of Unisa. We feel that we have been busy with court proceedings for more that six years to try and affirm the rights of students to have a right to mother language education at public tertiary institutions," said Alana Bailey, Head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum.
"This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the country’s history. More and more South African students should have tertiary education in their languages. We hope this will mark a beginning of that chapter,” she said.
The Constitutional Court handed down an unanimous judgment on this on Wednesday.
The Apex Court ruled that Unisa's language policy adopted in 2016 is unconstitutional and irrational, adding that the university must ensure that the language policy is scrapped by the time the 2023 academic year starts.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled that Unisa's decision to exclude Afrikaans as a language of instruction was unconstitutional and unlawful.
AfriForum approached the SCA after its application challenging the new language policy phasing out of Afrikaans as a language of teaching and learning was dismissed at North Gauteng High court.