The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an independent investigation into allegations that the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Wim de Villiers, attempted to improperly influence the appointment of the Chancellor at the institution. DA Constituency Head in Stellenbosch, Leon Schreiber, says former Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron was offered the position by De Villiers while he was involved in hearing an appeal by the organisation Gelyke Kanse regarding the university’s language policy.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the university’s 2016 language policy, which elevates English above Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, is constitutionally justified.
Schreiber says they are exploring multiple avenues for investigation.
“The language policy has massive implications for the down scaling of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch. I have written to the Ombudsman and the registrar of the university and I’ve written to the judicial services committee. We will be having internal discussions to see what is the best route to take. I’m waiting to hear back regarding those letters to see what would be the appropriate forum for this investigation.”
De Villiers denies that he was in any way involved in the process of electing a new Chancellor. He says the only correspondence he had with Justice Cameron was regarding his availability for the post which he at that point declined.
De Villiers says he is positive that he had acted in good faith and that the election process ultimately ran in accordance with the university’s policies.
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