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article imageUniversity stampede kills one in South Africa

By Amanda Payne     Jan 10, 2012 in World
Johannesburg - One person was killed as students trying to register themselves for a place at the University of Johannesburg stampeded just as the main gate was opened.
A report in the South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian said that seventeen people had been injured in the incident just after 7:30 a.m. local time on Jan 10. The dead woman is believed to be the mother of a prospective student although she has not as yet been identified. Another woman was critically injured with severe head and chest trauma injuries.
The students had been trying to get one of the 600 places still left in a last minute application process. Around 6,000 people had queued through the night at the campus in Bunting Road, Johannesburg. The paper quoted one student, Wilson Matiba as saying "Things got out of hand. We rushed the gates and people fell. We couldn't stop". Mr Matiba is trying to get a place on a course to study zoology.
The BBC reports that high unemployment has lead to a much larger than usual number of young people wishing to register for a place at one of South Africa's universities with around 180,000 high school leavers being expected to miss out on a place at one of the country's top nine universities alone. According to the BBC report, the University of Johannesburg is one of the few that accept last minute January applications.
The Johannesburg newspaper, The Star, described the scene. "They screamed, they shouted in anger, they pushed those ahead of them, they trod over people who had fallen." The paper spoke to one of the injured, a woman called Seipati Ntisame, 37, who had queued with her daughter, Pholoso, aged 18. Ntisame spoke of how she had lain on the ground screaming whilst the crowds walked over her. Eventually a campus security guard was able to pull her to safety. Police at the scene had been unable to control the crowds. A University spokesman has said that students who had managed to get on to the campus would be allowed to apply so as to "defuse an already explosive situation"
A spokesperson for the univerity's student representative council blamed their own campus saying that if more information had been given to those waiting in the queue , the tragedy could have been averted
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