Legal Practice Council ‘denies promotion of multilingualism’ in SA

Henry

The battle over taking the entrance exam for candidate lawyers, which these days can only be done in English, rages on.

At the end of last year, the Legal Practice Council issued a notice in which it announced its intention to adjust its language policy so that the exam can no longer be taken in Afrikaans. The decision is apparently based on the idea that writing exams in Afrikaans offers an “unfair advantage” to Afrikaans students. The decision applies to barrister, notary and deed examinations that take place from 2024 under the auspices of the Legal Practice Council.

The Pan-South African Language Council (Pansat) is among several organizations calling for the decision to be revoked.

Jaco Mulder, a FF Plus MP and the party’s chief spokesman on justice, says the fact that fewer and fewer candidates want to sit their entrance exams in Afrikaans is precisely because of the “year-long maligning of Afrikaans by the ANC government” and the introduction of English as a language of record keeping in court proceedings, business and commerce.

“The disregard for Afrikaans amounts to a blatant violation of the South African Constitution and goes against the spirit of promoting multilingualism in South Africa,” says Mulder.

In 1996, the party was also instrumental in including articles 185 and 186 in the Constitution to recognize the rights of language, faith and cultural communities, says Mulder.

“The party will now carefully monitor the progress of the investigation that Pansat has launched into this regarding the RPR’s decision.”