Khampepe Stellenbosch University Afrikaans

Stellenbosch University. Image: Flickr

DA accuses Khampepe report on Maties of ‘scapegoating Afrikaans’

The DA says the report on Stellenbosch University by Sisi Khampepe blames Afrikaans for all the racial tensions in the institution.

Khampepe Stellenbosch University Afrikaans

Stellenbosch University. Image: Flickr

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will immediately take the Khampepe report on Stellenbosch University for legal review as it scapegoats Afrikaans for all the problems in the institution. 

Retired Judge Sisi Khampepe was approached to head the Commission of Inquiry into Alleged Racism at the university following two incidents of racism. The 184-page report was released on Tuesday, 8 November.

The report said Black students and staff members still feel unwelcome in the university due to a number of factors with the first being the history of Stellenbosch.

The Commission found that the history of the University and the symbolic meaning it has acquired for certain members of the White and Afrikaans community poses challenges to transformation.

“This is because there are people both within and outside the University who believe that the University is culturally significant to Afrikaners and that the status quo should accordingly be preserved. These sentiments manifest in external pressures being exerted on the University by alumni and various political groups.”

Khampepe report
Khampepe Stellenbosch University Afrikaans
Stellenbosch University students held an intersectional march against systemic issues at the institution on Friday, 20 May 2022. Photo: Storm Simpson / The South African

The DA said in the report Sisi Khampepe outrageously scapegoats the Afrikaans language for any and all problems at Stellenbosch University. 

The party’s Leon Schreiber accused Wim de Villiers of perpetrating various injustices against Afrikaans students, including by banning them from speaking Afrikaans in residences and in public, saying all this escalated when he became rector at Stellenbosch University.

Schreiber said the Khampepe report escalates the attack on Afrikaans to unprecedented levels by effectively blaming the seven million speakers of Afrikaans for any and all racial tensions and incidents like the urination scandal. 

Schreiber said it is clear that this finding is designed to provide De Villiers with the excuse he has long sought to completely eliminate Afrikaans as an academic language.

“Equating Afrikaans with racism is not only a disgusting insult to an entire language community in South Africa. It is also completely irrational, based on anecdotal and wholly unrepresentative evidence, and at odds with everything our constitutional democracy stands for.

“That is why the DA has immediately instructed our lawyers to take the Stellenbosch University Khampepe report for review in court. As the leading political champion for language rights in Parliament, the DA will spare no cost and leave no stone unturned to protect the dignity of our indigenous languages – including Afrikaans.”

Leon Schrieber

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