Buti call as aspiring students hurt in stampede
THE Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Buti Manamela, yesterday urged prospective tertiary students to co-operate with institutions of higher learning in their registration process as thousands were flocking to secure the limited places.
Six people were injured at Capricorn Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college in Polokwane, in the Limpopo province, during a stampede when hopeful applicants rushed through the gate yesterday morning, and a further two prospective students were struck by a vehicle.
Capricorn TVET college was forced to suspend registration for the 2018 academic year until Monday following the stampede. The situation later calmed down after police and paramedics came on the scene and transported the injured to various healthcare centres.
Manamela met the principals of all TVET colleges at the Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Germiston where he was also briefed on the situation at the Polokwane and Seshego campuses of the Capricorn TVET College in Limpopo.
“We appeal to all prospective students to ensure that they have all the necessary documents to enable the colleges to handle their applications and registration swiftly. I urge all students to follow the procedures for application and registration so that we can resume learning and teaching on Monday,” Manamela said.
“We remain grateful for the outstanding work by our security personnel, the police and the paramedics in the manner in which they managed the situation.”
Manamela said that discussions were currently under way between college management, the city council of Polokwane and police to identify an alternative and more suitable venue for registrations.
The EFF has demanded that institutions of higher learning allow walk-in registrations for those who did not meet the deadline for online applications. The party also instructed prospective students to report to these institutions following President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of free higher education last month.
But Manamela reiterated that the online applications remained the primary method for applications, saying that universities and colleges are encouraged to assist and set up mechanisms in anticipation of any late walk-in applications as a precaution.
Meanwhile, the EFF called for better crowd management by higher education institutions in anticipation of a high volume of prospective students.
“We call on (colleges) to apply basic crowd control mechanisms like barricades, marshals etc,” said the EFF.
“We admit it is a problem, but one we must be eternally proud of because instead, we could be dealing with scores of youth dying on the lines of beer halls and drugs.”
The DA blamed the EFF for the stampede, saying that the party must take responsibility for the injuries because of its call to “storm” institutions.