Maties SRC to pile on pressure for language policy change

The univeristy's council maintained the 2014 language policy which gives English & Afrikaans equal status.

A Stellenbosch University rep has informed the protesting students that the interdict they've obtained will now be enforced. Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Stellenbosch University's Students Representative Council (SRC) said it will continue putting pressure on management to ensure English becomes the lingua franca on campus.

Last month, the Rector's Management Team came up with a proposed language policy to make English the primary language at the historically Afrikaans tertiary institution.

But on Monday, the university's council rejected the idea, instead retaining the current language policy which places the languages at an equal status.

The SRC's James de Villiers said, "The SRC is completely behind the Rector's Management Team and the Rector himself for the bar set and progress made and we'll continue putting pressure on both to ensure that some of the recommendations will be put into place."

De Villiers said the council's decision was disconcerting.

"We see this sentiment as a confirmation the council continue with status quo instead of dealing with the language issue, which ultimately works to exclude many students.

"We really expect council to show leadership in finding innovative solutions to deal with the language issue. Unfortunately they chose to continue with what's already in place."

On Monday, a delegation from trade union Solidarity promised to present the results of a referendum on the retention of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University to the institution's council.

The council was faced with a critical decision, whether or not to support a proposal by Rector Wim de Villiers to make English the primary language of communication at the university.

But Solidarity's chief executive Dirk Hermann said the wide support for Afrikaans confirmed that unilateral decisions by university councils would not be accepted lying down.

He said the Afrikaans community stood together for the preservation and development of the language at tertiary level.