Govt calls for probe into UJ stampede

2012-01-11 08:15

Johannesburg - The government has called for a "full investigation" into the death of a woman during a stampede at the University of Johannesburg.

"This is an unfortunate incident," government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Tuesday night.

"The improvements in matric pass rates...should be cause for celebration, not tragedy... This is an unfortunate incident which we hope will be fully investigated."

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) said on Tuesday that it would investigate the stampede, in which 22 people were injured, two of them critically.

Manyi sent his condolences to the affected families.

Victim a 'dedicated mom'

The Times newspaper on Wednesday identified the woman who was killed when crowds forced their way onto the campus as Gloria Sekwena, 47, the mother of prospective student Kgositsile Sekwena.

She was described as a loving and dedicated mother who had high hopes for her eldest son.

She was a nurse who had travelled from London to queue with thousands of other parents and young people, hoping to submit a late application for her son to study medicine.

Sekwena’s family described her as “jovial”.

A traumatised Kgositsile had to be sedated by the hospital’s medical staff and was in tears after the incident. His mother had died in his arms.

He told family members how he and his mother had been in the crowd when someone tried to get over the fence to get into the university grounds. He fell to the side and people pushed over his mother, stepping on her. He tried to find her and when he did, she was unconscious. 

Relatives recalled how Sekwena had told others not to come along that day as people could get hurt.    

Walk-in applications

Manyi said the government had noted the possibility, as expressed by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, of walk-in applications or registrations being outlawed.

After the incident, Nzimande told journalists that crowds descending on universities for late applications was a nationwide problem every year, but that UJ seemed to attract a lot more people.

reported on Wednesday that the Democratic Alliance had criticised Nzimande, accusing him of saying last year that the long queues outside UJ were a "wonderful problem".

Nzimande said on Tuesday that the department was hoping to have centralised registration in place by next year and would provide more information at schools on the applications process.

"Government calls on candidates to take the necessary, timeous steps to secure entry to tertiary institutions and calls on such institutions to take measures to make these processes as smooth and efficient as possible for candidates," said Manyi.

  • Renny - 2012-01-11 08:25

    Duh! Too many students, not enough universities. Government should have identified this problem years ago, these guys arent the sharpest tools in the shed.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-11 08:41

      Governement allowed this situation. Matric results are released too late and too many pupils are pushed through by adjusting marks.

      Mike - 2012-01-11 08:52

      Renny, if they did not lower the entrance grades for Varsity by 50% there would be more than enough Varsities! Keep in mind that even the education standards at school level are already lowered!

      Xavier7034 - 2012-01-11 09:02

      Yes @Renny - you are correct. One has to stand back a few paces from the tragedy and mayhem of yesterday, and judge the ACTUAL, underlying reasons why this has happened. The ONLY authority who can make policy regarding Education for all, is the government. Not everybody can go to University. Some folk are far better suited to a Technikon, a Technical College or a Trade School. The Education system looks to be shambolic, and yesterday was only the tip of the iceberg. Sad part is, people like Trevor Manuel, as Planning Minister should be involved. Blade Nzimande is punting an outdated populist agenda - one of his most ridiculous requirements has been "Mother Tongue" education at Tertiary level.

      Herman - 2012-01-11 09:14

      More universities is not the answer, mid term most of the students have given up, it is all about discipline.

      Ray - 2012-01-11 09:20

      To pass matric,you only need to have an IQ higher than your age-it is obvious that lowering the pass rate will lead to multifold increases in university applications,but most cannot make it beyond the first year.But who is accountable?

      Jerhone - 2012-01-11 09:43

      it's not that there's too little universities it's the easy pass mark to enter that's the problem,now hoards are trying to get in, another genius brain flash by the rulers of animal farm, always trying to reinvent the wheel then scratching their heads afterwards eish what went wrong now?

  • TheSlip - 2012-01-11 08:30

    When in doubt, launch a probe (even when it was lightning).

      jonathancfarrell - 2012-01-11 08:35


      Sean - 2012-01-11 08:50

      agree with The Sip - Suppose that probe is also going to take 10 years ! Viva ANC ,BUNCH OF FOOLS !

      Mike - 2012-01-11 09:08

      @ TheSlip: I wonder how many of our government employees / ministrers are doing probes by now? Must be close to 70%? Some of the probers are probing other probers!

      TheSlip - 2012-01-11 09:12

      Haha, I just want one of them to freak people out by putting on a latex glove right after they say "We're going to launch a probe." @Mike it's definitely a higher percentage than is required to pass matric :)

      Gary - 2012-01-11 11:51

      exactly.....more people passing matric is more than likely down to the "higher calibre" of the passing students, hence this animal behavoir that resulted in someone dying. Who the hell applies to go to university at the last moment anway???

  • Silver - 2012-01-11 08:31

    This another job creation scheme and who will investigate the findings of this commission?

      Andrew - 2012-01-11 10:44

      The Metro Police blame the Campus security and likewise they blame the MP, so no one is to blame. This is not the first time a total fiasco has taken place and now they want a full investigation which will take weeks or even months and next year it will be the same story again. All talk and no action just like J Z' speech of 3 hours that said nothing.

  • Tanja - 2012-01-11 08:34

    You cannot study medicine at UJ!

  • Comrade - 2012-01-11 08:36

    PROBE WHAT. a 5yr old child can figure this out. Goverment IMBICILES!!

  • Sheldon - 2012-01-11 08:36

    Late applications? I recall being able to apply to University using my Grade 11 results, knowing that the Grade 12 results should be similar. Why are there so many late applicants? Must be that most of these students never thought that they'd ever pass Matric, but by some magical force they actually passed and now decided to apply. Maybe this is a result of lowered Matric exam standards, allowing more people to pass who never expected to before.

      PaasHaas - 2012-01-11 08:57

      On eNews this moring they were reporting that thousands of applicants werent even qualified to apply for university but went anyway in the hope that they would be accepted.

  • NrGx - 2012-01-11 08:47

    the majority if that crowd, gauging by the video, more than likely do not the sufficiant marks to attend University anyways. Most of them didnt even know what they wanted to study. Again I think this was a case of entitlement rather than merit. As we have seen time and time again, the folk who rely on entitlement and race, are the ones that cause destruction and death, whether it be standing in line, going to school, or marching for "economic freedom". Referring to the (now) old vodacom ad, are you free or are you dom...Here I think the latter applies. Its not the Uni's or the police fault, but only the morons who even grasp, stand in line, instructions.

      Zuz67 - 2012-01-11 09:18

      You are 100% correct! This is unacceptable! These kids came with one thing in mind....they want to be at "Varisty". Most of them did not have the necessary University points, but they seem not to care, none of them know what they wanted to study. I asked one child, and he said, I am here to apply to study "ANYTHING" ???, and when asked if he applied for a loan, he said, no, I want to study, I "not" know who will pay for this, he said....SHOCKING!!!!! The Univesity of Johannesburg is not at fault here! These kids are UNEDUCATED!!and now they want to come here UJ to annoy us!

      Moss - 2012-01-11 10:03

      writing lots of bull!! How do you know majority don't know what they want to study. You are purely stereotype moron

      NrGx - 2012-01-11 11:28

      @Moss - before you ridicule perhaps you should familiarise yourself with the topic at hand. It has been reported in the papers and on radio that the majority of students arrived to "apply to study", and when asked what they want to study, the reply was "anything". In another instance a student to be was there to apply to study chemistry, when in fact you cant study chemistry at UJ. Lets not forget that these folk were the cause of a death or were you too "stereotypical" in not taking my comment in its full context.

  • Hennie - 2012-01-11 08:49

    Could you start investigating the farm murders as well as you are spending tax money to investigated stupidity of the educated youth?

      phangolicious - 2012-01-11 09:40

      My Opinion!! The battle against farmers who die due to crime can easily be won, if the approach of Afriforum & Solidarity can change focus ..... it's a very simple issue, Farmers are simply targeted because they live in isolated households, fact is, statistics & research will tell U that if U stay in a stand-alone household in surburban areas , U're highly likely to encounter crime in a form of bugglery, but if U stay in a secured complex or Estate, chances of being robbed by criminals decreases by 60%....... I have first hand experience on this, therefore the solution is very simple for farm crime, it is the formation of a Food Security Unit inside the SAPS, our country needs food, how else will we feed our children if we don't have farmers, 24 Hour Security to patrol and guard farmers will be a solution. If our governemnt can secure each MP or Minister with 2 security guards, why is it so difficult to understand the importance of defending Food Security!! Aluta Continua ......

  • J.D. - 2012-01-11 08:49

    Stop wasting time and money with token investigations while the truth is obvious. Simply admit the truth. This incident was caused by uncivilised behaviour.

      elphaas.mgiba - 2012-01-11 09:15

      wonder if you know what cause the uncivilised behaviour, we could have been all civilised by now!

  • elphaas.mgiba - 2012-01-11 08:50

    UJ management acted in "Do not care attitude" why this type of situation do not happen at TUT where the ques are longer than ever but the situation at TUT is managed and SRC and Management engaged with the students and assist them from start. I do not care attitude because those are black students will put you into trouble and the chancellor will have to answer now change your attitude and you will go forward.

  • mossie.geldenhuys - 2012-01-11 08:51

    no need for a stampede

  • Marais Van den Berg - 2012-01-11 08:54

    I feel truly sorry for the lady who died as well as those who were hurt in the stampede. BUT: could all of this not have been avoided if the learners followed correct procedure and applied to the university when they were supposed to, i.e. from April onwards during their matric year?

  • Nitronic - 2012-01-11 08:58

    I feel for the student who lost his mother because he probably had admission and the right marks, but for the rest of the animals i don't feel a thing as they are not human but more like pests

  • Alva - 2012-01-11 08:58

    This tragedy should be laid squarely at the door of Blade Nzimande. It is his portfolio. This is just another prime example of employing the wrong people to do the job. Rope Angie Motshekga in. Why were the matric results released so late? Useless pair under the administration of Zuma. God help our people!

  • EyesEars - 2012-01-11 09:03

    Government calls on candidates to take the necessary, timeous steps to secure entry to tertiary institutions and calls on such institutions to take measures to make these processes as smooth and efficient as possible for candidates," said Manyi. How can the students register if the results are being given so late, which causes part of the problem every year? Once again government is not thing for themselves either.

  • Sandra - 2012-01-11 09:03

    TSO more than a DECADE into democracy and not even one university was built.... if u gonna give every one the right to education please make sure you have enough facilities to make sure people enjoy that right

      Singatha - 2012-01-11 10:05

      The chickens have come home to roost

  • ffaarg - 2012-01-11 09:15

    People are passing judgement without knowing the facts. It seems:- 1. They were queuing for diploma courses not degrees. 2. Degree applications were closed. 3. Late, walk in, registration is allowed because many applicants are from poor and/or rural families and they don't have the money at the time of early registration. 4. There are also students who did not make it into the degree program and are looking for alternatives. That is not to say things could not have been done better or that I know all the facts. Just that we make pronouncements based on a lot of assumption.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-01-11 10:47

      If you are right in what you said I thank you. It makes it more understandable. If I than do understand right the "educated" people at UJ could not foreseen that this can happen. Is than there a lack in the registration system for students that are now forced to go for a diploma course? What still confuse me is the amount of students applying vs the amount of people the UJ can accommodate. Degree and diploma together.

      Smangele Zwane - 2012-01-12 00:25

      Another thing people seem to forget is that Johannesburg is crowded and every one seems to want to be there. There's not a single thing that could have been done to better the application process, safety n security, announcements, you name them - not with a crowd that's anxious. The stampede was bad outside of the gates, so people can't question the process that's worked for years and continues to improve. I completely agree that late application should not be allowed. Its unfortunate that the poorest students will suffer the most.

  • Su - 2012-01-11 09:18

    This is a travesty. Why didn't the ANC build more universities long ago with our tax dollars instead of spending it all on themselves and their blasted parties? The most disgusting thing of all is that stampedes should NOT be happening in our queues and soccer stadiums but they do. Oh, hang on, we are still third world. I forgot for a second.

      Mvikeli - 2012-01-11 09:50

      Well surely it speaks to the quality of life in this country if you can "forget", even for a second, that this is a 3rd world country.

  • Schmee - 2012-01-11 09:25

    ie lets all get together and spend millions on hotel bills and lunches. Woop woop party time. Wish some sicko would crash the party with latex gloves and do the real probe. Somehow I think a lot of government officials are sitting on their brains.

  • Paul - 2012-01-11 09:28

    Where does the money come from for a post-disaster 'full investigation' but nothing for a bit of pre-disaster research? ...the wheel's spinning but the hamster's dead.

  • Ian - 2012-01-11 09:28

    I can only assume that the stampede is a direct result of the extremely LOW level of education that we are currently "enjoying" in this country. Surely if you were halfway educated you'd understand and follow the principles of standing in queue instead of jumping climbing over the fence. Come on, if you claim you are educated AT LEAST BEHAVE LIKE IT! To the family of the deceased I am truly sorry, to go to a University to apply for a degree in order to improve yourself is a most noble cause and to have to end in such trauma is truly heartbreaking. My condolences. GOVERNMENT KNOW THAT THIS DEATH IS YOUR FAULT!!

  • Hunter - 2012-01-11 09:31

    "Nzimande said on Tuesday that the department was hoping to have centralised registration in place by next year..." They should not be hoping. They should plan and implement! Hoping gets you nowhere.

  • Murray - 2012-01-11 09:32

    Oh please! How hard would it have been to simply arrange for different days for for people falling into different alphabetical groups, i.e. Surnames starting with A-F Monday, G-H on Tuesday etc. A couple of loudspeakers informing potential applicants on the day would have prevented this tragedy. It's common sense that is lacking nothing else, this certainly does not bode well for the edcuation the institutions are providing...

  • The-Azanian - 2012-01-11 09:32

    The desire to be successful in african students is so huge that government should be busy planning for new tertiary institutions instead of calling for useless probes...sick.

      Singatha - 2012-01-11 10:02

      Two unnecessary spending spree's we could have done without come to mind re: funds for new tertiary institutions...The arms deal and the soccer world cup.I'm afraid as a so called "developmental state" our priorities were heavily skewed... and to the benefit of European industrialists and a detriment to the African child.We was DUPED!

  • Jerhone - 2012-01-11 09:36

    another investigation by the bobjaane in government trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted, if you geniuses had not skimped on decent education when you came to power, left corpral punishment in schools (always trying to reinvent the wheel)(never learning from history because it's white ideas) maybe these overgrown children today would have learned about manners, disapline and queueing, condolences to the family

      Smangele Zwane - 2012-01-11 23:59

      Bobjaane and condolences in the same breath?!?! How dare you! Such arrogance! Maybe if it was a white person that had died you n the people that like your comment would have more respect. Try using your evil hate and angry speech about the hundreds of chinese people that died in the stampede today! There's evil, predudice and malice on that heart.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-11 09:51

    As with normal schools, universities must accept all student irrespective of space or the numbers in each class. The Department of education has made it perfectly clear that this is the norm for schools and that parents are not welcome, the same must apply for universities and colleges. Lets face fact whether there is one person in a classroom or 100, at the end of the day the certificate still doesn't have much international value anyway. The poor woman who was killed , died as a result of government inaction, and irrespective of any faults found in the way the university handled the situation does not excuse government for ultimate accountability.

  • RobertaKeeling - 2012-01-11 10:27

    "Nzimande said on Tuesday that the department was hoping to have centralised registration in place by next year and would provide more information at schools on the applications process." Why do these brilliant ideas always come too late, like in this case where a mother dies trying to get her son registered?

  • Robi - 2012-01-11 10:59

    Police were visibly there, unfortunately no crowd control skill.

  • Sandra - 2012-01-11 13:10

    The problem is that a large number of these learners never had uni. exemption before and did not apply. I put the blame on the Department of education and adjustments made to matric results. As a teacher it is shocking to see learners that could never even achieve 20% for my subject now have 40% for final marks.

      John - 2012-01-11 14:06

      @ Sandra. I agree with you. It is just one big joke. I am not talking about the lady who was killed. That is very sad. I am refering to the matric results.

  • naomi.duplessis - 2012-01-11 16:10

    ALL Universities in RSA should have same policy as UNISA: NO LATE APPLICATIONS. All matric students in ALL schools get the opportunity in the beginning of their matric year to apply at tertiary institutions, if they don't do it then, they have to stand over until the next year!! Government is yada yada less do.....they promised universities in Northern Cape and Mphumalanga YEARS ago...but lets use the money to party and joll....lets forget about educating the youth of your land!!!!

  • Alexander - 2012-01-11 18:18

    UJ Stampede could have been avoided! The death at UJ reflects the murder of our matriculants – and any prospects for their future by the department of education. Decisive action needed by Minister of Higher Education – Barbara Creecy now!

  • Lesley - 2012-01-11 21:14

    How could she apply now for her son to study medicine at this late stage? How Why is it that the parents always leave it to the last moment and then cry foul when their chikdren do not get accepted. Surely the schools are advising the pupils as to when they must apply and the marks they need to get. If you did not get good marks in grade 11 and during the matric year , how come you suddenly get an exemption to go to university?

  • Smangele Zwane - 2012-01-12 01:28

    It is truly disappointing to see/read the comments on this article. It's so difficult to find commens that add value, that advise, that keep from passing judgement - even in the face death. What a sick society we live in! What will it help to point fingers at Blade, Angie, the government entirely, the applicatin process or a bunch of anxious students/scholars or parents who didn't do their homework? Can't people comment without making themselves appear wiser anymore? Clearly neither one of the institutions involved did their best to avoid the stampede, parents n students included. The death caused in this case can't be pinned down to one person. It happened, its done - how about we find ways to avoid unneccesary death in future - instead of hate speech?

  • frangelico - 2012-01-12 22:03

    @squeegee,correct me if I'm wrong but up to 1993 the marks students got at mock matric went towards their finals,results were out early December Many knew in advance if they would make it or not.

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