Image Credit: Twitter @Leon_Schreib

Various residences at Stellenbosch University have again allegedly implemented a widespread ban on even the informal use of Afrikaans during the university’s welcoming period. The DA says it is appalled and is demanding the “immediate release” of the SAHRC report.

“The information in the DA’s possession indicates that this latest ban on Afrikaans is even more systematic than the one implemented by residences during 2021, when students were banned from speaking Afrikaans in their rooms, on campus, and even on park benches,” Dr Leon Schreiber – DA Constituency Head: Stellenbosch – said in a statement on Sunday.

It is alleged that across campus, groups of students conversing in Afrikaans – even when everyone in the group speaks Afrikaans – are now being instructed to switch to English.

“Widespread intimidation and shaming of Afrikaans students by so-called student leaders at residences have also been reported in a series of affidavits currently being compiled by the student organisation StudentePlein,” said Dr Schreiber.

“It also appears that the university management is complicit in these violations, as they have to date not even bothered to acknowledge the violations and have completely failed to take action to protect the rights to language, dignity and cultural association of non-English speaking students.”

The DA has already written to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) demanding the immediate release of its report into the complaint laid by the DA when the informal use of Afrikaans was first banned by the university in 2021.

As a result of the DA’s complaint, the HRC had conducted a series of hearings into the ban on Afrikaans at the university in 2021. “The DA has had sight of the SAHRC’s interim report into this matter and we demand that the full, unredacted report be released to the public immediately,” said Dr Schreiber.

“Given that the university not only failed to act against the violation of language rights following the 2021 incidents, but that it has now seemingly intensified its ban on Afrikaans, it is not in the interests of justice for the HRC report into the original violations to be delayed any longer.”