ConCourt upholds UFS decision to switch language policy to English

The Constitutional Court has ruled on the language policy at the University of the Free State.

The Health Sciences faculty at the University of the Free State (UFS). Picture: @UFSweb/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has upheld the legality of the University of the Free State's decision to go from dual medium Afrikaans and English to an English medium education institution.

Mogoeng delivered his judgment a short while ago.

"The following order is made: 1) Leave for appeal is refused; 2) There will be no order as to costs and I hand down this judgment."

He says that evidence has shown that the university's dual language policy seems to have sown division, intensified racial tension and is simply not working.

"The university is in effect saying that the use of Afrikaans has unintentionally become a facilitator of ethnic or cultural separation and racial tension. Its continued use would leave the results of white supremacy not being reddressed but being kept alive and well. It is for that reason that a policy revision or intervention has since become necessary."

Mogoeng delivered judgment on a case brought to the Constitutional Court by AfriForum after the university last year adopted a new language policy.

In March this year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the university's new language policy.

The Chief Justice says that every student has a constitutional right to study in any official language of their choice but that the major challenge is that learning material in other languages are not accessible.