Mom crushed to death trying to get son education

2012-01-10 17:51

Johannesburg – “It’s a sad day in history that a mother, who had sacrificed so much for the education of her son, should lose her life trying to assist her son to get an excellent tertiary education at the University of Johannesburg,” said vice chancellor Ihron Rensburg.

A stampede broke out on Tuesday as thousands tried to enrol at the university, killing one woman and injuring at least 22 people, university and police officials said.

“Our condolences to her family and friends and our thoughts go to the other applicants who were injured during the course of the morning’s events,” Rensburg said.

Thousands of people had queued outside the university after it announced it would accept late applications from those who missed an earlier deadline or who recently became eligible thanks to their exam scores.

When the university opened its gates at 07:30 to begin letting applicants in, people in the back of the line started pushing, officials said.

Unbearable thrust

"There was a simply unbearable thrust at the front. The outcome was we had one parent who was also in the queue that was crushed and passed away. Two other people are in a critical condition," Rensburg told a press conference.

Footage showed the area littered with stray clothing and shoes pulled off in the fray.

"I can confirm one dead and twenty-two were injured," Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Wayne Minnaar told AFP.

The university told the media that crowd control outside the campus was the responsibility of the police.

Aspiring students and their parents had been queuing outside the university since the early hours of Monday hoping to submit late applications. Many had brought umbrellas and chairs and camped there overnight.

The national university system has room for about 150 000 first-year students this year. A further 180 000 high school graduates are expected to be turned away.

The University of Johannesburg said it had received 85 000 on-time applications for the 2012 academic year, up from 67 000 for 2011. It has places for 11 000 first-year students.

Late applications

The University of Johannesburg said the process for the consideration of new applications was closed, after they received approximately 7 000 late applications since Monday 9 January.

Rensburg said the university had decided to accept late applications in a bid to make sure poor students were not excluded from higher education.

"We must do everything possible to a community that simply doesn't have access to information to afford them this opportunity," he said.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said it is not possible for all tertiary institutions to accommodate the large number of late applicants.

But Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said his ministry was considering putting a stop to the late application process.

"It's something that we are seriously considering that maybe we should not consider walk-ins," he told a press conference.

"We think that the price we are paying is too much."

Nzimande expressed concern that prospective students did not have enough information on the application process and that Further Education and Training colleges were good alternatives for study.

More places needed

He said some prospective students did not know what they wanted to study and this "clogged" queues because of "on the spot counselling".

"There's a very racist discourse that tries to say people are not prepared for university, they shouldn't get in, we shouldn't be admitting them," Graeme Bloch, an education policy analyst and visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, told AFP.

"Hell, people are prepared to queue day and night to get in. They obviously are keen to get in. What we need is more places, not less students."

There were no signs of the morning's stampede on the campus by midday. Substantially smaller queues were moving in dribs and drabs through metal barricades.

Applicants, often with family members, have camped out by university gates for days hoping to gain entrance.

Zamantungwa Kumbo, 19, and her mother, clutched the bedding they brought to campus and waited for a decision.

"I passed out, and lost my shoes," Kumbo said. "People were kicking and running over me.
"I wanted to leave, but my mother convinced me that it was more important to stay, to try to find out if I was admitted."

Fanie Nhlapo, 19, said he had been waiting since 01:30 to apply.

"I want to become an ambassador," said the eastern Johannesburg resident, the son of two unemployed parents.

"I didn't apply last year because the application fee was expensive [R250]," he told AFP.

"My dad did some recycling and raised the money for me."

  • Gert - 2012-01-10 18:00

    Surely these inssitutions have got to look at getting the registrations done online, and earlier. The desperation of last minute entrants are always going to be a problem, and surely none of the institutions are geared for the amounts of people that tried to get in. Everyone involved are going to have a hard think about what happened here, and make sure it never happens again. Very, very sad.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-10 18:35

      Not everyone can get a univesity education, but the criteria cannot just be money. If students work hard at school they should be able to register early either at school or online. Desire for a degree is not enough, you have to earn it. Scraping a matric exemption is not enough.

      Spyker - 2012-01-10 18:51

      And in parallel the ANC refers to their Fracas in the Free State as: "Centenary event runaway success". This is simply the consequence of the ANC's obligatory manipulation of matric results to present a false facade of the ANC's ability. If these people's ability are measured against international standards, you will find those people who murdered the mother outside UJ have a matric certificate, yet they would not pass a low-end primary school exam in most countries in Europe. SA has some of the stupidest Grade 8's in the world. They cannot read, do maths and do not understand science. This was confirmed by an international study (refer my previous post in this regard). These are people who demand a 'FREE EDUCATION', in their minds it does not only mean getting it for paying nothing, it means getting it for DOING NOTHING (like it was the case at primary-/secondary school). An education means NOTHING - viz it is not worth the piece of paper with the red star and Latin chit-chat - if it does not result in a person with a certain de facto level of competence. Education (or what is passed-off as 'education) is simply an 'INPUT' - a functioning economy is the consequence of people's 'OUTPUTS'. What the ANC is doing is deadly dangerous. At least, when you do not-, or cannot pass, then you know your limitations - the ANC is creating a generation that do not know that they do not know...

      rbphiri - 2012-01-10 19:13

      This is very tragic since the child in questions was registrating inside without even having knowledge of his mother's death. Parents sacrifice a lot for their kids to get proper education,but for her sacrifice to end in death is shocking. Students who flocked in their numbers at UJ should not blame the institution for mal-administration, they were not there to write your grade 11 exams, if they worked hard in grade 11 their applications would have been successful without them having to apply last minute with their matric results.

  • Yaseen - 2012-01-10 18:07

    180 000 high school graduates are expected to be turned away, OMG Hope this 1 death will open up more avenues, like Tunisia

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-01-10 18:13

    If you can't even pay the application fee, how will you pay for the tertiary education? Just how is it decided who qualifies for higher education in this country? Seems to me everyone just pitches up and shoves...them who shove the hardest get an education, just doesn't seem right.

      1CRAZYONE - 2012-01-10 19:29

      @ Mundu Your grade 12 marks (AS ALWAYS) decide your tertiary education. If you don't have marks for varsity there are always other options like technicon or college!

      Siso - 2012-01-10 19:41

      Mundu that's out of question dont you think, he wouldn't spend time queeing of he knew that he wont be able to afford his fees. Getting education in this country is not determined upon your financial circumstances but your results surely the guy has financial assistance or something

      Kgomotso - 2012-01-10 21:09

      you apply for NSFAS

      AmuseMePLs - 2012-01-11 09:13

      tried to read ur comment a couple of times just so i can make sense of it. n no luck. are you saying since he cant afford the registration fee he must just give up n not try to get admitted?

  • Nicholas - 2012-01-10 18:13

    While the university should look at alternative methods of streamlining the registration process, I really hope they don't pick up the blame for this as it seems like a freak accident brought on by a total lack of discipline and absence of respect for those in the crowd. Absolutely heartbreaking.

  • Simamkele Nolonwabo Twala - 2012-01-10 18:18

    sad story indeed may her soul rest in peace! What a way to start tertiary without a mother! Solution to this i think its best for all institutions to accomodate students who are within their provinces 1st because these people who camp outside 80% of them are from other provinces, making things difficult for local residents!

      Leon - 2012-01-11 01:20

      typical...south africa is south africa! south africans are south africans!..... -i bet you live near a university and therefore you come to your 'logical' conclusion due to your short-sightedness, ignorance and selfisness..... let me guess, next step in your argument is 'give zulus (or whichever tribe you are from) preference as the other tribes make things dificult for zulu residents'...once again, typical self-entitled mindset

  • Mkulisi - 2012-01-10 18:19

    Sad state of affairs this country is in, The apartheid government built university's and technickons and even built a blacks only university namely fort hare. But after 18 years of "freedom" the ANC has failed to even build one institution or university in its name,think about provinces like Mpumalanga and Northen cape not a single university for those provinces but we have billion rand empty soccer stadiums. A sad state of affairs indeed.

      Thanduxolo - 2012-01-10 18:30

      yeah brother no one cares about future of this country, they only after money

      Leslie - 2012-01-10 18:35

      Well said. It is about priorities.

  • johnnymacza - 2012-01-10 18:20

    really sad, but me thinks education department is to blame. they have make matric results available much sooner and actually allow for enrollments to be conducted at schools

  • mbulelo - 2012-01-10 18:21

    SNI statement on UJ stampede released earlier today: As a way out of this crisis the SNI proposes that government converts the 2010 World Cup stadiums into universities. It is a shame that Mpumalanga province has no higher education institution but has a R2.5 billion stadium! The SNI demands that government work with universities to realize the dream of the thousands of black students who need quality tertiary education. To this end the SNI calls upon students, student formations and larger society to occupy Luthuli House and universities until an answer is found for this crisis. SA is not poor; we can take care of the educational needs of our people. The problem right now is that our government does not care. just quoting what others have said, and they are right.

  • Comrade - 2012-01-10 18:22

    Thats the state of our education ..... ANC rule everything into the ground!!! .. RIP ukuziqhenya nesibindi mamma...

  • Johncarlos Cynical Biza - 2012-01-10 18:32

    We may blame a racist discourse(whatever it is), but ultimately the people who have the means and power to solve our higher education were partying R400m away this past weekend.

      Nkosiyabo King Mkhulu Sithole - 2012-01-10 18:37

      man! ths blame game is getting old.

      KevinKing - 2012-01-10 18:59

      Ya nkosi, you cant provide a counter argument, just deny or play the race card.

      francoisvdmerwe - 2012-01-10 19:07

      @Nkosiyabo King Mkhulu Sithole, i dont like any of these racial stuff, just thinking R400m is an insane amount of money and im not saying no heritage party or whatever, just even if they saved 120m imagine how many ppl could have been helped.400mil for a vegas away party is not right with so many ppl suffering

      Johncarlos Cynical Biza - 2012-01-10 19:08

      @Nkosiyabo you can't enjoy the perks of a job(free fancy cars and huge paycheques), but refuse to take responsibility for your failures.

  • wilhelm.griesel - 2012-01-10 18:33

    Never had this problems when i registed. We all waited our turn no matter how long the queues! What's different?

  • Nurse - 2012-01-10 18:41

    I hope none of the animals doing the pushing and shoving that caused this get enrolled.

      Kgomotso - 2012-01-10 21:14

      Universities are for people not animals.

  • Samantha - 2012-01-10 18:44

    It's time the education minister got involved, Start introducing application processes at all schools from as early as grade 10, that way by the time kids need to apply for uni, they are prepared and know the process... geez government, get with the programme. Why does someone have to die before something gets done!

  • Aaron - 2012-01-10 18:44

    As usual everyone to blame but the actual perpetrators. I am sorry, but if you lack the discipline and patience to queue in a civilised fashion then you probably should not be attending a university anyway. It also amazing how Graeme Bloch, a chief architect of the "Outcomes Based Education" disaster manages to somehow weave racism into this. Everyone trying to score cheap twisted political points over the completely avoidable death of a person. The real problem is that we are not honest about the vocational capacity of our youth. The academic route should only be reserved for those that demonstrate a talent for it, and the rest should be allowed to learn useful trades and vocations from an early stage.

  • Aaron - 2012-01-10 18:48

    How can Graeme Bloch say it is a "racist discourse" that says people are not prepared for university when we've just had a 24% university entrance rate which is itself at a very low standard? It is quite obvious that people are not prepared for university, academically, emotionally or mentally and if we are going to hide behind race the problem is only going to get worse. A lot worse.

  • Wynn - 2012-01-10 19:02

    Knowing that there was such a mass of people waiting outside the campus the UJ should have had more control of the opening of its gates, placing the blame solely on the police is totally unacceptable. There should have been a plan for access between police and the UJ. Will lessons be learnt?

  • Piston - 2012-01-10 19:12

    RIP Mother.

  • Deon - 2012-01-10 19:16

    Arrive to register and you don't know what you'd like to study????? WTF!!

  • Grant - 2012-01-10 19:18

    ...and this the calibre of applicants these days! Cant control themselves enough to QUEUE - how are they ever going to manage the more complex stuff?

      Peter - 2012-01-10 19:28


  • mamoshianem1 - 2012-01-10 19:28

    What wrong with minster of Department of Basic Education.Since she took over ,DBE is a mess.She must stop that 30 percent pass rate and Maths Literacy,there won't be long queue at tertiary instutitions.I'm suprised the students are confused about which career they must follow.What's the use Life Orientation.

  • Mboneni - 2012-01-10 19:44

    Since our education system does not have career guidance we need to advice our children to apply for tertiary as early as possible to avoid unnecesary loss of life.This is an education system that is interested only in final year results,then the children will have to fend for themselves.I feel disheartened by this untimely death of this responsible mother,may her soul rest in peace

  • Siso - 2012-01-10 20:00

    My heartfelt condolences to the family..

  • Robi - 2012-01-10 21:13

    The politicians are screwing us.Why always reactive than proactive. It seems as people have to die first before constructive planning come into place. This is irrational and Blade Nzimande must be fired. What he knows best is to plan about the infighting within ANC than to serve the public at large

  • Debbie - 2012-01-10 22:01

    So unfair that a poor mother has to die in the name of education for her son! Hopefully, the institution will grant the son special entry. Can't believe that these are our matriculants...stampeding like a herd of bulls! Shame on you all who started the pushing and shoving...have you no manners? xox

  • jacques.buckle - 2012-01-10 22:29

    ja ne dis nou maar so

  • Vik - 2012-01-11 04:58

    Extremely sad story. RIP. When I was applying for a university - years ago in a different country - there were entrance exams. Compulsory language and mathematics (FOR ALL UNIVERSITIES )plus one or two specialty related (biology, physics, history, extra math etc). Language - to prove you are on the necessary level to understand the UNIVERSITY type of instructions and mathematics - to prove you have at least some logically set brain to be able to cope with the UNIVERSITY level instructions. The sums of your matric and the University entrance exams results was your ENTRANCE MARK. Top marks (for that particular year) were accepted to study. It was done 3 month prior the start of the 1-st semester. If you didn't qualify - you can try some other institution or wait for another year.

  • cheyna.stewart - 2012-01-11 08:41

    the admin and organisational skills at these universities is absolutely abismal. I applied at Wits a few years ago and was only given confirmation that i had been acceopted a month after classes had started, after recieving every excuse in the book to why my entrance exam had not been marked yet. I gave up and applied at a college, also not the best college as they ripped me off and lied constantly to me but what other choice did i have. The government encourages youths to study hard and go to university as we all know it is almost impossible to get a job without a degree or diploma but they cannot provide for us. I came to this country from Zimbabwe expecting a wonderful life of ease and excess as this is what South Africa is portrayed as providing, instead my family has struggled with money since the moment we set foot here. Zimbabwe is fast looking like the better option, and as someone who grew up there and witnesses it deteriorate, trust me when i say South Africa is going down the same path. Its so sad!!!!!

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