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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: FW de Klerk Foundation by Theuns Eloff.]

Just before the end of 2017, and while South Africa almost came to a halt during the Christmas holidays, an extremely important ruling almost passed unnoticed. Chief Justice Mogoeng delivered the majority ruling in Afriforum’s leave to appeal in the case on the University of the Free State’s language policy. He did so without having heard any oral arguments and dealt simply with the documents before the court. He and seven (black South African) judges denied the leave to appeal, and Judge Froneman and two other (white South African) judges differed in a minority ruling.

The question was whether the new English only language policy of the UFS was contrary to section 29(2) of the Constitution and the Ministry of Higher Education’s language policy. Chief Justice Mogoeng with the majority ruled that the decision of the UFS was correct and in line with both the Constitution and the ministerial language policy.

The essence is not about the UFS and its language policy. One could argue that, given the changing demographics of that university, Afrikaans would not have a chance of survival on the medium and long term anyway. It is rather about what in law is referred to as “precedent”. What is the impact of this judgment on the only two other public universities that still have limited use of Afrikaans, and on the 2500 schools that still use Afrikaans as language of tuition? But before we look at the impact of this in a second article, we first have to consider the Court’s ruling in detail.

Continue reading here.

South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in August 2018 (CPI) & +6.3 y/y in August 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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