Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - The University of South Africa (Unisa) will start operating on weekends as thousands of potential students wait to register for this year’s courses.

This comes as the institution’s Durban campus admitted yesterday that it was struggling to deal with extremely long queues of new and returning students.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said that staff had been “doing their best” to cater for as many students as possible since they opened in early January.

“This past weekend we had reached an agreement to open our registration offices on weekends as the deadline for registration is on January 25,” he said.

A member of the institution’s student representative council, Nkanyiso Zwide, said the long queues had been winding around the campus, while some potential students resorted to camping overnight to ensure they were attended to the next day.

“We also are concerned about the vulnerability of these students, because we do not want a repeat of last year’s incidents where people were robbed, one woman was raped, and another went missing,” Zwide said.

He said Unisa employees were only able to deal with at least 1 000 students a day, but more than 3 000 people were in the queue.

Ramotshela advised budding students to register online rather than queue outside the institution. He said only those who needed assistance to navigate around the courses they were choosing, had no access to a computer or needed assistance with crediting subjects they had done previously should be in the queue.

“Only if a student needs a warm body to help them with registration or needs to talk to career advisers should they be in the queue,” he said.

THE MERCURY