DA reveals that Khampepe report’s hit job on Afrikaans is based on only one witness interview

Issued by Dr Leon Schreiber MP – DA Constituency Head: Stellenbosch
10 Nov 2022 in News

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

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that the Khampepe Commission at Stellenbosch University (SU) – which equated the Afrikaans language with racism in its findings – only interviewed a grand total of one bona fide witness during its proceedings.

This shocking revelation is contained on page 28 of the report, where retired judge Sisi Khampepe admits that, despite providing “several reminders” inviting students and staff to participate in confidential interviews about alleged problems on campus, only 22 voluntary submissions were ever received. With over 33 000 students and staff members, this means that less than 0.7% of the Stellenbosch University (SU) community were sufficiently concerned about problems on campus to even bother approaching the Commission.

It is thus based on only one bona fide witness interview that Khampepe decided that Afrikaans must be abolished, while also characterising the town of Stellenbosch as being “home to many conservative, typically White, Afrikaners who bear racist and other bigoted beliefs and attitudes.”

Out of the 22 people who made voluntary submissions, only a single witness was ever invited to provide oral evidence. An overwhelming 99.3% of the SU community therefore did not even bother to engage with the Commission at all, meaning that its report does not reflect the “lived experiences” of 99.3% of SU students and staff members.

Once it became clear that less than 0.7% of students were at all concerned with the Khampepe Commission’s investigation, she turned to the university management to provide her with more “witnesses” and “evidence.” By Khampepe’s own admission, this additional material was hand-picked by Rector Wim de Villiers and his management team.

Instead of community members volunteering out of genuine concern, “the university provided a list of suggested witnesses, including students and members of staff and management, who in its view could provide relevant evidence.” Based on the sweeping findings made equating Afrikaans with racism, the intention of this additional “evidence” was clearly to lead the Commission towards a predetermined outcome.

Yet, even despite management’s attempt to manufacture more “witnesses,” Khampepe ended up interviewing a grand total of only 47 people – 46 of whom did not voluntarily come forward out of concern with the Commission’s work, but on the instruction of their bosses in university management. Some of the interviewees were even members of management themselves. They also fed the Commission with documents, apparently to ensure that it reaches the predetermined objective of equating Afrikaans with racism as a pretext to erase the language from the university.

The reality is that the Khampepe report and its predetermined hit job on Afrikaans does not come anywhere close to reflecting the “lived experience” of the SU community. Instead, it can safely be concluded that it heavily reflects the opinions and views of university management, which constitute less than 0.7% of the university population and who have long been engaged in an effort to eradicate an official indigenous language from all aspects of university life.

The revelation of the Commission’s shockingly shoddy work confirms the urgency of the legal challenge that the DA is putting together against its report, which seeks to scapegoat the seven million speakers of Afrikaans and abolish the constitutional right to mother-tongue education in a context where less than 0.7% of the student population were sufficiently concerned about the situation on campus to even engage with the Commission.

The university management likes to claim that it is in touch with the “lived experiences” of the university community. But it is now confronted by the uncomfortable reality that the “lived reality” of 99.3% of students and staff members contradict the outrageous, anecdotal and insulting findings contained in the Khampepe report.

The DA repeats our call for De Villiers to explicitly undertake not to implement the report’s recommendation to abolish Afrikaans. If he fails to do so, we will overturn this entire report and expose in court how SU management set up this Commission with the sole predetermined objective of providing cover for abolishing Afrikaans.