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Minister in trouble: Complaint about Blade Nzimande filed with the UN

The South African logo The South African 2021/11/16 Tom Head
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Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has again copped heat from the opposition benches – but things have escalated significantly this week, after a complaint about the ANC stalwart was registered with the UN.

Who has reported Blade Nzimande to the UN?

Nzimande was reported to the United Nations by one of his opposite numbers in the DA. Leon Schreiber, the party’s constituency head in Stellenbosch, has long been fighting the minister over his classification of the Afrikaans language.

However, Schreiber is also upset that Blade Nzimande is also giving the cold shoulder to Khoi, San, and Nama languages – which all form a part of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

The DA has asked the ANC representative to acknowledge these tongues as ‘full, indigenous languages of SA’ – but there’s been resistance from the Higher Education Minister.

DA complaint going ‘all the way to the top’

Feeling exasperated with the whole charade, Schreiber and his colleagues decided to take things to a new level – and lodged their grievances with UNESCO, a branch of the UN that handles matters of educational and cultural significance.

“The DA has lodged a complaint with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) against the South African government and the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande.”

“Our aim with this intervention is for the United Nations (UN) to force Minister Nzimande and the government to recognise Afrikaans as well as the Khoi, San, and Nama languages as full-fledged indigenous South African languages in the new Language Policy Framework for Higher Education Institutions.”

Leon Schreiber

Blade Nzimande accused of ‘breach human rights laws’

Should the complaint against Blade Nzimande be upheld, he would be found in violation of the UN’s charter on Human Rights. Such a declaration would be devastating for the government, which remains under pressure to reclassify these languages. According to Schreiber, Nzimande’s position on the matter is a ‘hateful’ one.

“The SA government must respond within three months to the DA’s complaint that Minister Nzimande’s classification of these languages as ‘foreign’ violates Articles 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“The hateful classification of Afrikaans as well as Khoi, San, and Nama languages as ‘foreign’ violates all of these values. We hope that the international community will help us force the government to recognise Afrikaans as well as Khoi, San, and Nama languages as fully-fledged indigenous languages in South Africa.”

Leon Schreiber

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