| DeurAfriForum

AfriForum Youth demands consequences for Wim de Villiers and accountability and action from Stellenbosch University

AfriForum Youth does not accept that the motion of no confidence that the Stellenbosch University convocation brought against Prof. Wim de Villiers is only related to a nepotism scandal, while no mention is made of the violation of Afrikaans students’ human rights that also took place under his supervision. The total absence of accepting responsibility or an announcement of actual actions in the light of the South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) report is also unacceptable.

Following many complaints from Afrikaans students in 2021 who claim that they were forbidden by representatives of the university to speak their first language – even in a private capacity – the SAHRC launched an investigation. The SAHRC published a report in 2023 in which they found that Afrikaans students’ human rights were being violated at the Stellenbosch University (SU). It is disturbing that similar complaints surfaced again in 2023.

AfriForum Youth first demands that De Villiers be held accountable not only for alleged nepotism, but also for the human rights violations against Afrikaans students that took place under his supervision. Second, the SU must clearly accept responsibility for the hostile and unwelcoming environment Afrikaans students experience on campus. There must also be an announcement in which the SU announces concrete actions to prevent similar targeting of Afrikaans students from happening again in the future.

“As a former Matie, it is shameful and deeply embarrassing for me to take note of the campaign against Afrikaans that is taking place at my old university. As a student at Stellenbosch University, I had already experienced how Afrikaans was slowly but surely being marginalized, but it seems as if this marginalization by the university has only worsened since my graduation,” says Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content at AfriForum.

“So far, Stellenbosch University has made no attempt to accept responsibility for the disturbing findings of the SAHRC. No actions have been announced to combat the toxic, hostile environment that has arisen for Afrikaans speakers on Stellenbosch’s campus. Both the recent nepotism scandal, as well as human rights violations against Afrikaans students, are symptoms of a larger problem at SU: a total lack of accountability and consequences for high-ranking officials, as well as a culture of denial and making excuses for the inexcusable,” concludes Van Zyl.