As thousands of matrics await their results on Friday, Universities South Africa (USAF) said on Tuesday that there would be no walk-in applications accommodated from prospective students when registration opens for the 2018 academic year, IOL has reported.
Good morning! Pls note that no walk-in applications will be allowed at public universities in SA. See attached statement from Universities South Africa for details. pic.twitter.com/HznRSzEHYk— Wits University (@WitsUniversity) January 2, 2018
USAF represents all of South Africa's universities, and it made the announcement in a statement following President Jacob Zuma's commitment to free higher education for "poor and working-class" students, made in his opening address to the ANC's national conference last month.
The president's announcement may have been what prompted EFF leader Julius Malema to declare 2018 ''the year of free education'' and call on anyone who had previously achieved matric results that qualified them to study at university, but who could not afford to, to simply present themselves at universities around the country on registration day.
In contrast, USAF had already decided at a meeting following the president's announcement that only those students who have submitted their details online will be able to apply for the academic year.
"Much to our dismay, we discovered at that meeting that government's decision to implement the new system was a fait accompli [already decided upon].
"Our task, then, as universities, was to work on how to implement the new NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] provisions in ways that are more effective to students," said USAF in a statement.
"One of the decisions out of that meeting was that since new applications had closed in 2017 at all 26 universities, no walk-in applications would be accepted."