File picture: Phill Magakoe/ANA
Pretoria - Universities on Wednesday said they stood by the decision not to accept walk-in applications despite threats to bring universities who maintained that stance to a stop.

The threats follow a decision by Universities South Africa, which announced this week that none of the 26 public universities would accept walk-in applications.

Among those who made the threats was the EFF Student Command, which on Tuesday said none of the students and university staff would be allowed to work or enter universities if public universities proceeded with that call when the new academic year started.

Read: EFF threatens varsities over walk-in admissions

National president Peter Keetse said: “If they continue with this call no one will enter the universities, including staff - not even the cleaners and security.”

As the country expects the government’s matric results to be released on Friday, TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said they were aware of the threats, but the university wasn't backing down.

She encouraged prospective students to visit their website on Friday to check if there was still space and to make their online applications then.

“We have taken note of statements by various organisations and we need to caution prospective students that there are issues of capacity. We will assist students as far as possible. However, if there is no space available no university will be able to assist them.

“From (tomorrow), prospective students can visit the TUT website to check if there is still space available Where there is still space they can still submit their applications,” she added.

Students had to remember that registration was only available online, she said.

De Ruyter also advised prospective students not to limit themselves, but to check other universities for space.

Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said: “As a point of departure, we refer you to the attached statement by Universities South Africa (USAf), which speaks on behalf of public universities on this matter. Unisa is part of the USAf collective.

“For your own cognisance, Unisa uses an approach where prospective students have to apply and be admitted before they can register for qualifications with us. Our application period for the first semester of 2018 closed in September 2017. The university is currently processing registration for the first semester of 2018,” he said.

However, he said those wishing to enrol with the institution still had a chance to do so, but for the second semester.

“Students wishing to apply to study with us from the second semester of 2018 will have an opportunity to do so when the application window is opened again in April. The application dates will be published on our website and other relevant platforms,” he said.

Responding to the EFF threats, he said: “We have noted with concern the statement issued by the EFF in relation to the ability of staff and students to access university premises; and we hope that this does not happen. It is imperative for our staff, in particular, to be able to access the workplace in order to assist the thousands of students needing help with their registration; as well as to facilitate the successful implementation of the presidential decision on fees.”

The University of Pretoria posted the institution’s registration dates accompanied by the statement by USAf, which read: “There will be no walk-in registrations for the 2018 academic year at public universities”

The USAf said it held a meeting to discuss the December 16 announcement by President Jacob Zuma that the government would introduce fully subsidised free higher education for poor students in 2018.

“Much to our dismay, we discovered at that meeting that government’s decision to implement the new system was a fait accompli. Our task then as universities was to work on how to implement the new NSFAS provisions in ways that are more effective to students,” said USAf.

“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.”

Pretoria News