UJ Stampede – How could this have been avoided

Written by on January 10, 2012 in u

Sad, a mother who obviously had high hopes for her child was killed today during a stampede at UJ. 22 were injured. Full story about how the mum ,a nurse passed away in the Sowetan.  Gloria Sekwana, a nurse, came all the way from London to enrol her son Kgotsile. According to the Sowetan he recalls after being tranquilised-

latest as on 11 Jan – UJ said they will pay for Sekwana’s tuition fees. let us hope this includes boarding, food and textbooks as well. A breadwinner has just passed away.

He said people started pushing and shoving, and that chaos erupted when someone jumped the fence to get into the university.He said he fell to the side and his mother was still in the crowd, people were stepping on her and pushing her. She disappeared in the crowd.He was looking for his mother and when he found her she was unconscious already. He was crying. She died within minutes. He just said, ‘I don’t have a mother anymore’.”

The question I am sure everyone is asking, how could this have been avoided?

Firstly I thought applications closed last year already. I am  baffled regarding long queues. I am sure the quotas are met in the application phase already, why the long queues now for applications. Obviously some won’t take no for an answer.

I may be wrong but I feel the long wait for matric results adds to the stress and frustrations of these type of situations. There must be a quicker way to get matric results out to students so they can sort out their lives and make decisions earlier instead of doing things in the 11th hour when applications are closing.

People really need to be more patient instead of jumping queues.  No one would dare jump a taxi queue line with fears of being given a good hiding from all those patiently waiting. They wouldn’t be able to stand let alone jump. I always admire how orderly the taxi line queues are and maybe queueing systems should take notes.

Some solutions I was brainstorming with myself..
1. Mobile confirmation – have a premium 34111 number keyword the application and person puts in their ID number and it tells them don’t waste your time standing in the queue your application is denied. Everyone has a cellphone these days so the sms confirmation would be the most effective.
2. Online confirmation system – where you put your id number and results and it gives you an indication if you should be standing in the queue
3. there are a dozen entrances to the university. Make each entrance a faculty specific entrance e.g gate 1 all the bcom students, gate 2 all the bsc students etc.
4. while people are queuing get staff members or tutors or pay some students to go to each person in the queue and do a quick survey with them and ask them a few questions and let them know if they should be standing in the queue and maybe handout application forms and help them in the queue to fill it so when they come to the front they just pay or whatever they have to do..
5. Handout the application forms and pens
6. staff with ipads or mobile devices go in the queues and capture details online in the queues.
7. for queues maybe hand out numbers to people in the queues and give them an estimated time to return.

8. maybe have a call centre with about 100 call agents that are wakker for this month to answer calls, students phone in to find out if they should come in or not..

ps. Eish, i don’t know, i really don’t understand the situation but talking from my experience when I applied and registered to go to university long long time ago. There are some technology short cuts that could really have helped to avoid this situation..

I wonder if the 2 day long wait made people anxious and frustrated to push in like that.

How do you suggest this could have been avoided? Leave a comment


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