The Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC) on Thursday welcomed the decision by the University of Pretoria (UP) to adopt a new language policy which would phase out Afrikaans as a medium of instructions by next year.
UP’s Council on Wednesday, in concurrence with the Senate, supported the adoption of a new language policy in terms of which English will become the primary language of instruction and assessment.
The EFFSC said it noted this development of Afrikaans having fallen at the university “with cautious excitement”.
“This falling of Afrikaans is a sweet victory for us, for it goes far as validating our aspirations towards a transformed University of Pretoria,” EFFSC spokesperson Peter Keetse said in a statement.
The EFFSC, which runs the Student Representative Committee at UP, had been demanding that the university drop Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and change the institution’s name to the “University of Tshwane”.
The EFFSC said this was “a battle against institutionalized racism”.
On Thursday, The EFFSC congratulated the leadership of its “fighters” at UP for their hard work in the #AfrikaansMustFall struggle.
“The EFFSC, however, appeals to their branch not to be complacent for the struggle is not over,” EFFSC said.
“The University of Pretoria remains a reactionary and anti-black space, and on this account we expect it to begin retaliating through suspensions and disciplinary hearings of which are already underway as five fighters are under investigation regarding the #AfrikaansMustFall protest action.”
Earlier this year, the EFFSC nearly brought UP to a halt after accusing the language policy task team set up by management of giving students who chose to be taught in English a lower quality of tuition.
On Wednesday, UP said that the goal of the new policy was to facilitate social cohesion and promote inclusivity.
The university said the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction would be phased out gradually for those students who were already registered.
“The University will continue to embrace and encourage multilingualism to foster unity and to provide equal opportunities speakers of all South African languages,” UP said in a statement.
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