The DA has filed a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande for defining Afrikaans as a “foreign language”.
The DA’s complaint comes after last week’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) judgment relating to the Unisa language case.
The ConCourt ruled in favour of AfriForum for the retention of Afrikaans as a primary language of instruction.
‘Afrikaans is not an indigenous language’
Earlier this year, 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.
The party has 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 SAHRC to prove that Nzimande is willfully and deliberately discriminating against Afrikaans,” said Schreiber.
‘Afrikaans is indigenous like the Protea’
Schreiber said from both a scientific and legal perspective, “there was simply no doubt that Afrikaans is as indigenous to South Africa as the quiver tree and the protea”.
Justice Steven Majiedt, who wrote the ConCourt’s Unisa judgment, said “indigenous peoples and enslaved peoples” played a crucial role in the development of Afrikaans.
Majiedt also dismissed the characterisation of Afrikaans as “the language of the oppressor” as “entirely misconceived and [one that] flies in the face of the true history of its origins and development”.
“By continuing to exclude Afrikaans from the definition of indigenous languages for what appear to be purely ideological and political reasons, Nzimande stands in direct defiance of the Constitution,” said Schreiber.
“He is actively undermining the language rights and human rights to dignity and equality of Afrikaans speakers.”