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HRC’s investigation into Afrikaans at SU must also include the culture of hostility towards Afrikaans speakers at the University

(Submission by Dr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, regarding the HRC’s investigation into the prohibition of Afrikaans at the SU. Full submission is attached herewith)

The investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) into the alleged prohibition of Afrikaans at the Stellenbosch University (SU) must also include the culture of hostility towards Afrikaans speakers as well as the University management's promotion of this culture through its laxity in handling complaints of that nature.

There is no other way to truly determine the nature and full extent of the prohibition of the use of Afrikaans at this institution.

The HRC launched its investigation after incidents that transpired in March this year at residences of the SU where the use of Afrikaans in public spaces was reportedly prohibited.

During this time, the FF Plus lodged a complaint with the HRC seeing as what transpired constitutes the violation of various constitutional rights of Afrikaans-speaking SU students. It includes, among other things, the right to use the language of their choice, the right to equality and the right to privacy as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Through suggestions made by its Rector, Professor Wim de Villiers, the SU tried to dismiss the involvement of political parties, like the FF Plus, as political opportunism. The FF Plus rejects that assumption with contempt.

The FF Plus is of the view that the significance of any steps that are taken in the interest of Afrikaans-speaking students must not be reduced to mere politicking. Afrikaans does not belong to the FF Plus or to any other political party or organisation. It belongs to the people who speak it.

The SU's initial response unequivocally demonstrated that it has very little regard for the use of Afrikaans and for the rights of Afrikaans-speaking students at the University. All while Afrikaans students experienced the ordeal as openly hostile.

The contempt for Afrikaners and Afrikaans under the new ANC dispensation is deeply rooted and institutionalised.

Therefore, the FF Plus truly hopes that this independent investigation by the HRC will also look into the origin and the culture of hostility towards Afrikaans speakers at the SU. The FF Plus has always fought for the rights of Afrikaans and its speakers and will continue to do so.

 

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