DA demands reinstatement and public apology from NWU after Primaria is suspended for speaking Afrikaans

Issued by Dr Leon Schreiber MP – DA Member of Parliament
16 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached an English and an Afrikaans soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

The Democratic Alliance is demanding answers from the management of the North West University (NWU) after the head of the Karlien residence was reportedly suspended for speaking Afrikaans.

The DA has sent an urgent letter directly to the newly appointed rector and vice-chancellor of NWU, Dr Bismark Tyobeka, demanding an explanation for what appears to be a blatant case of linguistic discrimination. If it is indeed correct that the Primaria was suspended purely for speaking Afrikaans, the DA demands that Tyobeka immediately reinstate her and issue a public apology to all Afrikaans students at NWU.

If NWU management refuses, the DA will explore urgent legal action and other steps, as we have indeed already done in similar cases of discrimination against Afrikaans students at Stellenbosch University (SU).

According to media reports, the Primaria of the Karlien residence was summarily suspended from her position for daring to speak Afrikaans – an official, indigenous South African language – during a residence dinner. As has become the norm at many universities, the NWU sought to justify this despicable abuse of power and limitation of constitutional rights on the basis of “inclusivity.” In other words: in the name of “inclusivity,” NWU is excluding Afrikaans speakers from exercising their constitutional right to speak the language of their choice.

These actions were apparently taken, at least in part, at the behest of the EFF, which is demanding that the Primaria and other students be expelled from NWU for daring to speak an official, indigenous South African language. The DA rejects, in the harshest terms, the EFF’s disgusting behaviour.

Sadly, this episode is not the first of its kind. It closely mirrors similar incidents that occurred last year at Stellenbosch University, when Afrikaans students were barred from speaking their mother tongue in residences and in public spaces, including on park benches. Like NWU, SU justified its actions on the basis that it was supposedly promoting “inclusivity” by violating the human rights of Afrikaans speakers.

In the SU case, the DA lodged a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that resulted in formal hearings into the matter.

The latest incident at NWU confirms the urgent need for the SU case to be finalised as a precedent, because the assault on Afrikaans on university campuses clearly continues to intensify.

Should NWU management fail to take urgent action to reinstate the Primaria and issue a public apology to Afrikaans students, the DA will not hesitate to hold NWU management accountable just like we are doing at Stellenbosch.