DA calls for linguistic diversity in legal exams

Issued by Werner Horn MP – DA National Spokesperson
08 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Werner Horn MP

The DA expresses deep concern over the recent decision by the Legal Practice Council (LPC) to allow entrance exams for candidate lawyers only in English, excluding Afrikaans. We believe that the constitutional ideal should emphasise strengthening and expanding the status and use of multiple languages, rather than imposing restrictions.

It is disheartening to learn that legal practitioners studying in Afrikaans were only informed of this policy shift weeks before their exams, undermining their preparation and potentially affecting their performance. The decision seems to disregard the constitutional commitment to linguistic diversity.

The DA questions the LPC’s rationale behind this decision, as it appears to be based on the notion that writing exams in Afrikaans provides an unfair advantage. We contend that fostering inclusivity should be the priority, ensuring equal opportunities for all candidates, irrespective of their mother tongue.

Furthermore, this move aligns with the concerning trend of promoting English as the sole language of record and operation in our courts. This approach risks undermining the administration of justice and the functionality of the legal system. A diverse linguistic landscape is essential for a robust legal framework that truly serves the interests of all South Africans.

The DA calls on the LPC to urgently reconsider this policy, engage with stakeholders, and work towards a solution that upholds the constitutional ideals of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in the legal profession. The aspiration should be to accommodate and celebrate the richness of our linguistic heritage rather than restricting it.