Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says he has yet to receive an application for the establishment of a private Afrikaans university. It has been reported that Solidarity has broken ground on the construction of its new R300 million Sol-Tech college campus in Centurion.
The private vocational training college is expanding its premises and was originally founded by Solidarity 12 years ago.
Minister Nzimande says he’s waiting for an application from Solidarity.
“As you might be aware there are media reports that Solidarity aims to build a R300 million private Afrikaans university. As a department, though I want to say we’ve not received any application for any such institution. As I sit here currently the legal framework for registering private higher education institutions does not permit them to be referred to as university’s – it’s illegal it can only be called a private higher education institution.”
Trade Union Solidarity has defended the expansion of its Sol-Tech in Centurion, south of Pretoria. It says the college does not racially discriminate, but rather promotes Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
“We love our language, we love this country and that means if we going to build a college we would like our language used as a language of instruction, it’s open to anybody as long as you in Gauteng, Pretoria area and you are willing to adhere to the language policy you welcome to study here.”
The college has drawn criticism from Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, saying it’s using language for ulterior motives.
“We need to be careful that we must not reverse the gains of non-racialism, we need to be careful that we don’t continue to separate and discriminate South Africans. We need to be careful that in everything that we do must do it together. Why do you still want to use the language you speaking, a wrong language and you can’t come to this university.”
Meanwhile, University of South Africa’s professor, Lesiba Tefu, has challenged African language speakers to develop their languages to an academic level to fully encompass all forms of teaching, rather than attack trade union Solidarity for building a campus for Afrikaans speaking students.
“I’m challenging my own and choose either Zulu or Tshwana, or perhaps as per regional language, let’s go and do it. It is doable and the Constitution says let’s build an inclusive society, and I’m adverse to those who want to undermine those values of reconciliation, national building and social cohesion. Cheap political rhetoric has not taken Africa anywhere.”