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Desperate students queue overnight ahead of registration
14 January 2018, 9:39 PM

Thousands of prospective students have started queuing at the Peter Mokaba Stadium  in Polokwane ahead of the resumption of the registration at the Capricorn TVET college.

Registration at the college was postponed to Monday following a stampede that led to the hospitalisation of at least six applicants on Thursday.

On Sunday, some of the desperate applicants brought their blankets to the stadium and say they will be sleeping in the queue.

“We are just going to sleep here. We are going to spend the night. Actually, we are not going to sleep, we are going to stand on the queue because if you sleep some of the people are going to come and take your space,” says a prospective student.

Another prospective student says he cannot risk not being accepted at the college as he has been rejected at Tshwane University of Technology.

Higher Education Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela has discouraged prospective students from the college from spending the night at the stadium.

Manamela says there are contingency measures in place to ensure that all applicants are assisted.

“We also want to urge them not to sleep on the queue overnight because tomorrow when applications are opened they all be given an opportunity to make applications; all of them,” says Manamela.

Manamela will on Monday morning visit the stadium to monitor the registration process.

Watch the video below for more on the story: 

NWU ‘ready’ to implement free education
14 January 2018, 9:24 PM

North West University (NWU) says it is ready to implement free tertiary education as announced by President Jacob Zuma in December.  Those who will be eligible for it would have applied through National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and have qualified for it.

The university has provisionally admitted 13,000 students for the 2018 academic year and registration process will begin on January 22.

The Vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Dan Kgwadi met with prospective students and their parents at the Mahikeng campus to officially welcome them.

While a topical issue has been how free education is going to be implemented in higher tertiary institutions, the university has announced it is ready to implement it.

“We have now at this stage clarified a few issues with government where we know that the announcement applies to students that will have to go via NSFAS. So, all those students who are poor and needy will have to apply via NSFAS.  NSFAS has already opened again another term for applications. So, we are going to encourage students to apply via NSFAS and for those students who are admitted by NSFAS they will not have to pay registration fees,” says Kgwadi.

However, it is not all prospective students who understand that to qualify for free quality education they need to apply through NSFAS.

Eighteen-year-old Tshegetso Tshiamo is one of them. He has been provisionally admitted to study Extended Financial Accounting hoping to work in financial institutions in the future. He comes from an informal settlement of Freedom Park outside Rustenburg and his father, a truck driver, will not be able to pay for his fees.

“I didn’t know that I have to apply for NSFAS to get free education. So, now at least, I know I’ll be able to apply for NSFAS to get a free education and achieve my dream,” says Tshiamo.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) has welcomed the move by the university.

Secretary General of the SRC Bongani Mahlangu says they understand that the system will have teething problems in the beginning. However, they are ready to explain and educate the students about it.

“Students have fought long and hard to get that declaration. So, now it’s an achievement. However, we do understand it comes with constraints. One is that students have to apply and qualify for NSFAS before they can have access to that facility and we are saying the university obviously has to implement it. As it was declared, it becomes law. We also understand that it will not be a perfect system since it’s a first, but then we will fix the imperfections as we move with the system,” says Tshiamo.

The North West University has also clarified that free education will not cover the existing outstanding balances.

Mnangagwa urges Zimbabweans to stop blaming western sanctions for failures
14 January 2018, 8:37 PM

New Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has asked his country’s citizens to focus their energies on creatively leveraging available human and natural resources to steer growth and development, rather than on blaming the western sanctions for its failures.

Mnangagwa was addressing traditional leaders and chiefs in his country and has clearly shown his intentions to do away with old methods and excuses.

Paying homage to the country’s traditional leaders first, the new Zimbabwean leader says he intends to meet all stakeholders in the country. Next, he’ll meet captains of industry to try and find solutions to the country’s economic woes.

Mnangagwa also told leaders that former President Robert Mugabe will not be forgotten.

“We, as Zimbabweans, we have our elder statesman and we shall look after him. Mugabe! We shall look after him the best we can because he is our father,” says Mnangagwa.

But since Mnangagwa took over power from Mugabe late in 2017, there has been renewed pressure for the new government to deal with the massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987.

These have come to be known as the Gukurahundi.

Some pressure groups want the new government to bring closure to the issue and it seems the new leader is paying attention.

“Justice and national healing and reconciliation throughout. We cannot progress when communities are in conflict. We must identify the conflicts and resolve them and move forward and develop. That is the aspiration of the new order. Only when the country is stable and is peaceful can we develop, can we focus on development; can we make sure that the younger generation, our own children can be supported to go to schools, to go to universities, to go abroad and bring back to Zimbabwe skills and technologies which are not available in the country.”

Mnangagwa says he is meeting with all SADC heads of states in order to brief them on the peaceful transition that has taken place in Zimbabwe.

So far, he has met with SADC Chair President Jacob Zuma and the new Angolian President Joao Lourenco, who chairs the organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

On Monday, Mnangagwa heads to Namibia then Mozambique before going to Zambia.

The new leader has also been invited to attend the World Economy Forum in Davos later in January, before he heads to the African Union Summit.

Gauteng Police to probe deaths of seven men discovered near Benoni
14 January 2018, 8:31 PM

Gauteng police are investigating the deaths of seven men whose bodies were discovered near a mine shaft in Benoni.

They made the discovery after receiving a tip-off from members of the public.

Police say preliminary investigations suggest the group may have been killed days ago. They are believed to have been shot elsewhere and their bodies later relocated to an open veld.

The victims’ identities are not yet known and they are suspected to be illegal miners.

Police have urged anyone with information to come forward.

Gauteng parents frustrated over Education Dept’s online application
14 January 2018, 8:04 PM

Parents in Gauteng, whose children have not been placed for the 2018 academic year, have expressed frustration over the Education Department’s online application system.

The department says it has already placed over 100 000 learners who had applied through the online application system. However, registration centres are still experiencing long queues as parents seek space for their children.

Just over 31 000 learners are yet to be placed at schools.

Josias Sebelebele from Mabopane, north of Pretoria, a grandfather who is trying to find placement for his grandson, says, “We are here to seek for a space for my grandson. We are only told that the schools are full and then now that we are not staying next to the school and then we are being rejected,” says Sebelebele.

Gauteng Education Department Spokesperson Steve Mabona has called on parents to cooperate with officials as they are working hard to ensure no learner is left out.

Mabona says the department will ensure that all learners are placed when schools re-open Wednesday.

“We are hopeful all the unplaced learners will be placed, but we are saying to parents that did come on Saturday and Sunday, they need to go districts on Monday and Tuesday. Districts will still be available to make sure that they place as many as they can because we don’t want a lot of parents on Wednesday coming saying that they are not placed,” says Mabona.

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