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1 killed, 20 injured in UJ stampede

By Sapa | Jan 10, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 107 ]

A woman was killed and 20 people were injured in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park campus this morning

The mother of a prospective student died and 20 people were injured in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg this morning, the city's Emergency Management Services said.

“There were 20 injured patients and the female who died has been  confirmed as the mother of one of the students,” spokeswoman Nana Radebe said.

Two of the injured were in a critical condition in hospital, she said.

Thousands of shocked prospective students and their parents stood outside the university after the stampede, where they were applying for a place.

“The news that someone has died has shocked me,” said Jane Monare, who drove up from Bethlehem with her daughter in the early hours of the morning.Her daughter plans to study mechanical engineering.

“I wonder why the university administration did not do something about this in order to avert this problem,” she said.

“No one is saying anything to us, to tell us what will happen,” said Monare. “I wish the education system can be improved to avoid such incidents.”   

Some prospective students had slept on the pavement waiting for the gates to open.

Abandoned blankets, clothes and shoes — most of them wet from the overnight rain — were strewn on the pavement outside the Bunting road entrance to the university.

Many ambulances and police cars were still parked at the entrance, and police and university security staff were not allowing anybody in.

Carol Mkhonto, from the Eastern Cape, had been about 300 metres from the main entrance before the stampede.

She wanted to check the status of her application. She tried last week, but was told it was “not in the system” so was making another attempt.

“I feel very bad about this,” she said.

Mkhonto said that putting people who were returning for further study and newcomers in the same registration queue had caused the problem.

“There was a stampede because of congestion because the university put everyone who wanted to renew and the newcomers in the same queue.”   

Radebe said earlier they received a call around 7.30 am to say there had been a stampede just after the gates opened.

The injured were treated in an emergency vehicle at the university and then taken to hospital.

One of the critically injured had sustained severe head and chest trauma. She was taken to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital for treatment, Netcare911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said.

The SA Youth Council was “dismayed” by the stampede.

“The university, after its experience of similar situations, should have found better means of dealing with such crises and it’s  important that we raise this issue across the entirety of the higher education fraternity,” said national spokesman Mangaliso Khonza.

UJ registrar Marie Muller told eNews channel that the incident happened as students queued for last-minute applications to the tertiary institution.

The university received 5,000 applications from new entrants on Monday.

TimesLive reported that last year there were 11,000 first-year places available and that the university processed 85,000 applications.

The situation was similar at other universities.

The University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, which has 5,500 spaces for first years, received 30,000 applications last year.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, which can admit 9,000, received 61,500 applications; and the University of the Free State, which can admit 4,000, received 13,000 applications.

The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng said the university should have handled the applications process better, but at the same time,  some students had unrealistic expectations as their marks would not  be good enough.

“Many of them should rather enrol at the Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, but these colleges need to dramatically improve their pass rate so that they can attract more applicants,” said the party’s education spokesman Khume Ramulifho.

“Two of the reasons for the long queues at UJ are the lack of adequate career guidance at secondary level and a lack of confidence in FETs.”   

UJ is a merger between the former Rand Afrikaans University, the  Technikon Witwatersrand and the Soweto and the East Rand campuses of Vista University.

It has four campuses — Auckland Park Kingsway, Auckland Park Bunting Road, Doornfontein and Soweto.

It also has a four-language policy of English, isiZulu, Afrikaans and Sesotho sa Leboa.

Its students come from over 50 countries in Africa and around the world.

COMMENTS [ 107 ]

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. I squarely blame this tragedy to the Anc the ruling party that gives distinction at just 50% pass mark. With the current system in place every d!ck and tom can go to university, and our country does not have that capacity to cater for all the matriculates.

Give malema a tender to build varsity in Mpumalanga

Jan 10, 2012 12:55 | 0 replies

The Govt must speed up the process of building another universities especially in mpumalanga, Northern cape, north west and Eastern cape, all this should not have happen if other provinces have alternatives but now the government is talking about the FET of which they dont even recognise it themselves instead they take their children overseas always waiting for another blood and funeral next year.

Jan 10, 2012 1:36 | 0 replies

Where is Blade with the extra space @ tertiary institution or was that another election campaign and fo appluase from the floor(as Malema said) ? Sad but we use to hustle alone in pre-94 no parents maybe things\parents have changed my sincere thoughts with this family and all the other families whose children could not get a place.

Without being xenophobic some ILLEGAL immigrants are stealing SA future !!

Jan 10, 2012 1:37 | 0 replies

may you please indicate to me which words appeared vulgar, discriminatory, obscene or abusive to you please.Dont think have insulted anyone unless you want us not to face the truth but sympathise which is what I (refer to last sentence)

Jan 10, 2012 1:37 | 0 replies

our brothers n sister must apply on time. parents mus also encourage their kids to apply in advance 2 avoid these kind of incidents. kids end up enrolling courses which thy didn't even want to do or going to fly by nite tertiary institution because of doing this on the 11th hour.all tertary institutions must adapt the zero tolerance attitude towards late registration, this will encourage matriculants to apply on time because they will know that if they don't apply they will not go to tertiary the following year.

Jan 10, 2012 1:42 | 0 replies

Its really sad that more kids want to study yet our country cant meet the high demand for futher education. Anyway Im really sad for the mother who died, really sad.

Jan 10, 2012 1:49 | 0 replies


I would say we need programmes which will increase number of artisans rather than BA graduates. Given the fact that we have such a skill shortage in these fields.

Jan 10, 2012 1:57 | 0 replies

As a an employee at UJ, I think its unfair to blame solely UJ management for the stampede. Didn't Blade Nzimande promise South Africans space in institutions of higher learning when he knew very well he wasn't building any? Not to mention that the standard of education is lowered time and again. No matter how UJ could have tried to control the queues, they were gna get out of hand at some point. Have you ever tried controlling people in desperate need. With that said, UJ management also needs to wake up and put an end to this last minute scramble for a few available spaces, in fact should account for the death of this innocent woman!

Jan 10, 2012 1:58 | 0 replies

@04pandemonium-Not to mention that the standard of education is lowered time and again

I am speechless !!

Jan 10, 2012 2:4 | 0 replies

04pandemonium -

Couldn't agree more, people are quick to judge but not quick to understand that there is a thing called fate, My sisters application was refused last year because apparently the closing date had already passed...WE can only blame UJ for making saccrifices when they already knew that they have recieved over 70000 application (Wrong business strategy)

Jan 10, 2012 2:6 | 0 replies

It's so sad that the parent wanted space for her child and now this. I don't see anywhere about condolences to the family though,how cruel is the university management. The child should just be given mahala education although it won't bring the mother back.

Jan 10, 2012 2:6 | 0 replies