Blade Nzimande slams suggestions he hates Afrikaans
Higher education, science and technology minister Blade Nzimande says he recognises Afrikaans as one of SA's 11 official languages. However, he will not tolerate it being used as a means of exclusion and oppression.
The minister was responding to a complaint by the DA, which wrote to the SA Human Rights Commission this week, accusing Nzimande of “unconstitutional insistence on defining Afrikaans as a 'foreign' language in SA”.
Nzimande claimed the DA was using an outdated strategy to use the Afrikaans language to exclude people, especially at historically white institutions.
“Afrikaans should and must be located in a democratic SA and be rescued from a white right-wing agenda. This should not be viewed as being in conflict with promoting mother-tongue instruction in a democratic SA,” said Nzimande.
He said the DA has, over the years, been narrowly focused on Afrikaans, while it ignored the other nine languages that were suppressed and underdeveloped during apartheid.
The DA's complaint to the commission comes after a Constitutional Court ruling last week ordered Unisa to change its language policy to include teaching and learning in Afrikaans by the start of the 2023 academic year.
Civil rights group AfriForum launched a legal battle against Unisa after it discontinued teaching and learning in the Afrikaans language in 2016. The group hailed the judgment as a victory for Afrikaans-speaking students and language rights in SA.
Nzimande said he would study the ConCourt judgment and the DA's complaint.
“In consultation with my legal team, I will communicate further on the implications of the Constitutional Court judgment on the entire Post School Education and Training sector,” he said, adding that the department was determined to defend its language policy.