Nzimande hits back at DA over language policy complaint to UN

The party is calling for UN intervention to force Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and government to recognise Afrikaans, as well as the Khoi, San and Nama, languages as fully-fledged indigenous languages in its new language policy framework for higher education institutions.

FILE: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Picture GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said that the Afrikaans language must not be used as a means to pursue a narrow and racist Afrikaner nationalist agenda.

Nzimande was responding to the Democratic Alliance (DA) which has laid a complaint with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) over the minister's new language policy framework.

READ: DA marches for Afrikaans to be declared indigenous language in higher education

The party is calling for UN intervention to force Nzimande and government to recognise Afrikaans, as well as the Khoi, San and Nama, languages as fully-fledged indigenous languages in its new language policy framework for higher education institutions.

The DA’s Leon Schreiber said that the policy framework recognised languages belonging to the southern Bantu language family as indigenous, accusing the minister of discrimination.

Nzimande's spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi has re-emphasised that the policy aims to affirm all South African languages and advocate for their scholarly development.

"This is about using the language policy within the confines of the post-school education and training sector. It is not about the general status of Afrikaans as a language in South Africa. The minister wishes to draw the attention of Dr Schreiber, that he has already released the draft policy of consultation in the post-school training centre and the Democratic Alliance has the right to engage in the debate rather than try to circumvent the debate as they are currently doing."