However, according to UP spokesperson Rikus Delport, in January 2017, AfriForum had filed an application for leave to appeal the High Court’s December ruling. “Pending this appeal, the University cannot proceed with the implementation [of the new language policy],” said Delport. He added that the implementation of the new language policy, in which English is to be the only language of tuition, is subject to the changing of the university statute, a process which requires engagement with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). “The Minister [of Higher Education and Training] has indicated that he will not make a decision to amend and publish an amended Institutional Statute pending the determination of the High Court review proceedings,” added Delport. Delport said that UP therefore had no other option but to wait for the legal processes to be finalised and for the decision from the Minister before it could proceed with the implementation of the new language policy. However, Prof. Danie Brand, a Public Law professor at UP, offered a contrasting view. “The ruling means that should UP have wanted to proceed with implementing the new policy in 2017, it could have done so. In fact, even had it lost the case in the High Court, it could have proceeded pending the appeal, as UFS [University of the Free State] did (they were challenged on that by AfriForum in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but won there),” said Brand.
Deputy CEO of AfriForum, Alana Bailey, responsible for international liaison, language and culture, confirmed to Perdeby that the application for leave to appeal had been submitted on 11 January.
Photo: Fezekile Msimang