Political rivals helping matriculants into college and university

Although orange banners announce that the University of
Johannesburg (UJ) will not accept prospective students walking into
the campus to register, a white tent in the parking area suggests

UJ has already received more applications than they have space for,
yet the university’s online application system open. The university
has so far had 19 000 late inquiries and online applications since
January 8.

The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) questioned
the university’s logic when it extended the online applications

Since Monday, UJ student volunteers, the EFFSC and UJ’s student
representative council (SRC) have been working together to help
students find accommodation, fund their studies, and find out
whether the university has space for them.

The EFFSC and SRC are prepared to help people find alternative
placements at other higher education institutions.

UJ SRC deputy chairperson Nhlanhla Mbongwa said they are “trying to
get everyone into the system”, which means working with SRCs at
other universities and colleges.

“We are trying not to politicise the system,” said Mbongwa.
“We are
trying to stop students from being rejected and returning to

He said that “irrespective of political association” academically
strong students are being assisted to get into a university, while
those with diplomas or a national senior certificate are being
guided to
technical vocational education and training

Mbongwa added that he has helped about 60 matriculants apply for
marketing diplomas over the past three days.

He hopes that by February 2, when registration closes, most
students will have been accommodated at a college or university,
but both the SRC and the EFFSC are prepared to continue helping
people with online applications up until the first week of the
academic year. 

The EFFSC has been trying to register as many people as possible at
UJ in the hope of gaining ground in the SRC elections in

The organisations’ main concern are matriculants from rural areas
who may not have easy access to the online registration

David Raphunga, a volunteer for the EFFSC and a third-year student
at UJ, said the process of assisting their “black brothers and
sisters” register online has been slow because the university’s
server has been temperamental and no handwritten applications are
being accepted.

But he and his team are determined not to leave anyone in the lurch
and have assisted at least 50 people each day to register at UJ or
direct them to another higher education institution.