UJ stampede: SRC president blames management

2012-01-10 11:28

University of Johannesburg (UJ) SRC president Tendani Nembidzane blamed the university’s management for the stampede at the Bunting Road campus this morning in which the parent of a prospective student was killed.

“We believe (this) could have been avoided if the SRC was allowed to enter the campus to assist the students. We were not allowed to enter the campus because management hired lots of security guards to guard over students,” Nembidzane said.

“If the university had hired lots of student assistants who were going to work with the students from the outside, this could have been avoided. The applications should have been spread across all the other campuses.”

According to eyewitness reports, the stampede happened between 7:30am and 8am when between 6 000 to 10 000 people gathered at the gate.

Up to 17 people were injured, two of them critically.

UJ Vice Chancellor Professor Ihron Rensburg said the incident was terrible and regrettable but maintained that the university had been prepared for an influx of late applications.

“The university made the best preparations inside the university. We had barriers up to Solomon Street but it was impossible for UJ’s Protection Services to manage the crowd that had gathered outside,” he said.

Rensburg said there would be a full investigation into the incident, adding that opening the gates helped to alleviate the pressure build-up at the gate.

“If the gates were not opened, more deaths would have occurred, which would have inflamed the already explosive situation but we did better than what we expected,” said Rensburg.

The director of Protection Services, Roelof Hugo, said they had consulted law enforcement agencies about the impending influx of students, but Protection Services’ jurisdiction was limited to inside the campus only.

“We discussed the crowd management issue on December 8, but we do not have jurisdiction on what happens outside the campus. We can only cater for what happens inside the university. The crows were kept outside because it would have been impossible to contain them if they were inside the grounds,” he said.

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