Durban - Hundreds of students hoping to register at Unisa’s Durban campus were turned away on Tuesday after the university issued numbers to avoid a stampede.
Unisa spokeswoman Gcina Nhleko said the the university had earlier advised applicants that this week it would be registering only students who had already applied for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
However, hundreds who had not applied for funding ignored the instruction, joining long queues at the Stalwart Simelane (Stanger) campus.
“Those who have not applied for the loan were encouraged to come (from Friday) for registration,” said Nhleko.
She said they had handed out 2 000 ticket to students in a bid to control the process.
The university has put up a sign at the entrance discouraging students from sleeping overnight outside the institution. But despite this, people arrived in numbers on Sunday night and slept outside the campus in a bid to beat the registration rush.
Among them was Zanele Cele, 18, of Mangethe near Mandeni, who was accompanied by her mother, Thembelihle Cele, 44.
They had travelled more than 100km to Durban and spent the night outside the campus with scores of others.
The practice is frowned upon by Unisa authorities, but no problems were reported after the overnight stay.
Nhleko said: “Sleeping outside the fence was beyond the university’s control. We have been encouraging people to apply online to avoid such situations.“
Zanele said she had made a New Year’s resolution to excel in her studies, with the hope of getting a bursary, which would ease the financial burden on her parents.
“I am so excited that I have finally registered 10 modules. Teaching has been my passion,” she said.
“After completing matric, I enrolled for an IT certificate because I did not know what to do to get to university.”
Her mother, who is unemployed, used her state grant and profits from selling vegetables to raise the R6 000 for Zanele’s registration fee.
Her father works in the sugarcane fields at Mandeni.
“I want my children to have a bright future. They can only have it through education,” said Thembelihle, a mother-of-four. “I may have to come back next year for my other daughter, who is in Grade 12.”
The Celes arrived on Sunday with their luggage, blanket, bread and 2-litre bottle of Coke. They spent R280 on transport.
Nobuhle Nzimande, who enrolled for a law degree, said she had stayed overnight because other commitments would have prevented her from waiting hours in the registration queues.
“Last year I missed out because I could not tolerate the queues,” she said.