NEWS
09/01/2018 09:01 SAST | Updated 09/01/2018 09:01 SAST

WATCH: Walk-ins? Meh, Say Jozi Students

Universities prepared for a potential wave of registration chaos, but on Monday, most students on two Joburg campuses seemed to have applied online.

The situation was calm at Johannesburg's two major campuses on Monday afternoon, where intense protest and unrest had been expected from students trying to do "walk-in" applications during registration week.

Confusion was created following President Jacob Zuma's free-higher-education plan, announced in his ANC national conference speech on December 16.

Many have been left unsure as to how their student fees would be paid, as the president gave no clue in his surprise announcement about how the new fee scheme would work.

As a result of Zuma's announcement, universities throughout the country are expecting high numbers of applicants, and have since decided -- almost unanimously -- that there should be no walk-in registrations on the country's campuses.

Speaking to HuffPost from the University of Johannesburg campus, however, many students said they understood the university's reasons for not allowing the walk-in applications and registrations.

They mentioned the stampedes caused by previous walk-in registrations as a major reason for preferring the online registrations.

"Honestly, I feel it is safer not to allow walk-ins," said 22-year-old master's student Lehlogonolo Sello, who said she registered online and found the process simple and straightforward.

"But I do still think they should allow students to walk in," Sello added.

Another student agreed.

"I think people should just go online and avoid the stampede this year," said Moshadi Mashoangoane, an honours botany student who had just completed her registration online as well.

But the EFF Student Command has threatened to shut down campuses around the country that do not accept walk-in registrants, saying there needn't be a stampede if the applications are organised correctly.

"We advocate for the issue of walk-ins, but it's about how the walk-ins are policed," said Wits SRC spokesperson Sandla Mtotywa.

The SRC, Mtotywa explained, was assisting students from out of town with transport and accommodation to make the registration process easier, but the situation is in the early days, as many campuses are still conducting supplementary exams.

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