DA blames EFF for Capricorn College stampede


Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- The Democratic Alliance (DA) has put the blame for the Capricorn TVET College stampede in Limpopo on the doorstep of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The party’s Andricus van der Westhuizen said stampede was as a result of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ call for people to ‘storm institutions’.

“This incident further highlights how irresponsible the call by the EFF to ‘storm’ institutions is – some institutions specifically avoid walk-in registrations in order to prevent harm coming to any applicants and accepted students. The DA had previously warned that this would place people’s safety at risk,” said van der Westhuizen.

“The call illustrates the party’s willingness to selfishly exploit the hopes of a desperate youth, simply to further their own political goals. The responsibility for these injuries lies squarely at the EFF’s door.”

Capricorn TVET College on Thursday morning was forced to suspend registration process at its Polokwane campus after six students were injured during a stampede. A spokesperson for the college, Tumelo Morobi said that the stampede occurred when over 1000 prospective students became uncontrollable at the gates.

Morobi said that the causes of the stamped were still unclear.

“It’s not clear what caused the stampede, we will be launching an investigation. Now, we are going to have a meeting with our academic staff,” he said.

Van der Westhuizen called on institutions to act and ensure the safety of students and to suspend walk-in applications if necessary. He took the opportunity to take a shot at the Department of Education and President Jacob Zuma for announcing free education in the country.

“Ultimately, this situation has arisen because of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) continued failure to provide clarity of policy after the President’s populist December announcement. Institutions – most notably TVETs – as well as students and parents are still largely in the dark as to what and how new policies are to be implemented this year. Until the Minister steps up to the plate and provides detailed guidance, we are likely to see more incidents like this as the registration process continues,” he said.