Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande is in hot water this week, following ConCourt’s decision to reinstate Afrikaans as a language of instruction at UNISA. The ANC stalwart had stated earlier this year that the dialect was being classed as ‘foreign’ in some departmental policies – much to the annoyance of many DA politicians.

Blade Nzimande to do battle with the SAHRC

Leon Schreiber, a shadow minister and DA constituency head for Stellenbosch, confirmed that he had officially submitted a complaint about Nzimande’s position on the matter earlier today. The SA Human Rights Commission will now make a judgement on the controversial affair, and the minister may end up being charged for his stance.

Is Afrikaans an indigenous language for Mzansi?

Schreiber released a follow-up statement on Monday afternoon, outlining his position further. He described Nzimande’s behaviour as ‘unscientific and hurtful’, and said he was left frustrated with previous attempts to talk with the 63-year-old.

Alas, requests fell on deaf ears. Now backed by the might of the Constitutional Court, the DA representative feels like he can land another blow on Blade Nzimande – who may soon have to make some concessions on the ‘Afrikaans’ matter.

“Earlier this year, the DA exposed the fact that Nzimande, in the new Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions, excluded Afrikaans from the definition of indigenous languages. The policy only defined languages that ‘belong to the Southern Bantu language family’ as indigenous. This is incorrect, unscientific, and hurtful.”

“The DA had previously written to Nzimande demanding that the definition be changed to recognise Afrikaans as an indigenous language with status equal to all other indigenous South African languages.”

“Nzimande ignored our request, and we have now forwarded that correspondence to the HRC to prove that he is willfully and deliberately discriminating against Afrikaans. The HRC must deal swiftly and decisively with Nzimande to ensure that Afrikaans takes its rightful place as an official, indigenous South African language.”

Leon Schreiber

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