All quiet at Wits as only a small number of walk-in hopefuls pitch up

Wits has brought in 30 people from a private security company, in addition to permanent security staff, to ensure the campus is calm and efficient. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Wits has brought in 30 people from a private security company, in addition to permanent security staff, to ensure the campus is calm and efficient. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Despite fears of massive queues of prospective students attempting to walk-in, universities around the country were surprisingly quiet.

There was little movement at the University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday, which has separated prospective students walking into the campus to apply from students with inquiries and who have been accepted.

According to a student helper, Solomon Mahlangu House was “packed on Friday” with students who had applied last year. Wits Theatre saw roughly 200 walk-in hopefuls.

A current Wits student said the small number of walk-in applicants may be a result of the “perception that it is harder to get into” Wits.

Phuti Makgalefa is on of 2017 matriculants, and he had tried to walk in to register as a student, only for a Wits official to explain that applications for 2018 were closed but people were more than welcome to apply in March for the 2019 academic year.

Makgalefa’s father said his son had tried to register in June last year, using his mid-year results, but Makgalefa had failed to meet the requirements. Now, he has the matric results to qualify for a Bachelor of Commerce, becoming one of 153 610 matriculants hoping to find a place at one of South Africa’s universities.

More than 56 091 matriculants applied to Wits but only 5 644 first-year spaces were available. But some who have already been accepted may decide to study elsewhere, which would open up a few opportunities for those whose applications have been shortlisted.

Wits has brought in 30 people from a private security company, in addition to permanent security staff, to ensure the campus is calm and efficient.

According to security officials, the campus has been peaceful, with prospective students and families co-operating with the university’s registration processes.

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie

Gemma Ritchie works in the Mail & Guardian's online department. She majored in English Literature at a small liberal arts college in the USA.  Read more from Gemma Ritchie

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