Minister of Higher Education is targeting Afrikaans under the guise of transformation

2015-05-13
Dr Pieter Groenewald

The word transformation in higher education actually means that there is no place for Afrikaans in the country’s universities, Dr. Pieter Groenewald, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on higher education says.

Speaking in parliament during the budget debate of the department of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Groenewald referred to the Northwest University’s PU campus and said the minister of higher education, Dr. Blade Nzimande, has two sets of rules for Afrikaans and English. He abuses this to target Afrikaans where it is predominantly being used as medium of instruction.

He said that of the 38 university campuses in South Africa, there are only two which are predominantly Afrikaans, i.e. the PU campus and the University of Stellenbosch, although the Constitution of South Africa (in Section 6 and 29(2)) stipulates that every person has the right to be instructed in his/her mother tongue and that there may be single medium universities to give affect to this right.

“In his attack on Afrikaans the minister says that language should not be an obstacle to anybody. At the university of Cape Town, a competency test in English is however a pre-requisite for admission. If you do not pass it, one cannot study there. This is double standards and in addition in a province where 60% of people speak Afrikaans.

“The minister can also take note that the majority of people who speak Afrikaans are not white, but brown. He is misleading himself therefore to think that if one speaks Afrikaans, one has to be white. The minister is clearly under-estimating people’s intelligence when he says that he has nothing against Afrikaans,” Dr. Groenewald said.

Regarding the attack on the PU Campus, Dr. Groenewald referred to the so-called Nazi salute and said that when a newspaper had taken the song of white and black students out of context, the minister was quick to issue a statement which strongly condemned it, knowing full-well that it was not a Nazi salute.

“But when the chairperson of the Wits Student Council praised Adolf Hitler, the minister kept mum. Up to today he has still not condemned it. It just shows that he is prejudiced against the North West University’s Potchefstroom Campus.

“When the minister says he has nothing against Afrikaans, I would like to say to him that I have nothing against him. But higher education in South Africa will be better off without a minister such as he, in this position,” Dr. Groenewald said.

 

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