UJ Stampede: A Sad Story

Imagine this; You are at a school camp and you open your Facebook and learn that your mother has passed away. You are in London anxiously waiting to hear if your wife was able to help your son register at University and you get a phonecall with news that she is dead. You are 18 years old looking forward to starting a future at tertiary but your mother dies in your arms with thousands of people watching. To you and I that is just an unthinkable thought but for the Sekwena family, this was their reality this week. 

Yesterday morning Gloria Sekwana became a victim of a stampede that claimed her life and left few prospective students at University of Johannesburg injured. 

Mrs Sekwena (47) - a professional nurse who travelled on December 29 from London where she and her husband Joseph had worked for several years, had accompanied her son to come and apply at UJ. Sadly at 7 am , the mother of 2 was pronounced dead and her "avoidable" death sent shockwaves across Mzansi. 

I can not even try and imagine what her son must have gone through watching his mother lying on that street outside of UJ. Kgosietsile and his brother who is in Grade 12 this year's story has to be the saddest story I have heard in a long time mainly because it should not have happened.

We have done the blame thing on social media so I will not even get into that right now. What did piss me off though, is the Democratic Alliance is cheap politicking. The opposition party did not miss a beat in using this tragedy to take a swing at the ANC. 

I was disgusted today to read that the DA spokesperson Junita Kloppers-Lourens had taken Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande on and said that when he had been asked about the flood of applicants last year, his response was that it was a "wonderful problem".

She was quoted;
"The 'wonderful problem' has turned into a tragedy, Last year he did not have a plan for the problem and has done nothing since. The government has failed dismally in dealing with education. It's absolutely criminal, what has happened under the ANC. It will take years to drag it out of the mud,"
Ok, what Juanita raises is a valid point. I do agree that something should have been done last year after this same thing happened. At this point of her statement she had me until she continued; 
"Quite a few of our colleges need to be placed under administration," 
"That's the reason why pupils aren't interested in going there"

That is the part that got me pissed off. In the latter part as quoted by News24, she is referring to Further Education Training (FET) colleges. She is still right but the issue of FETs came as a possible solution to the problem. 

Instead of the DA coming up with an alternative in her statement since she thinks FETs are dismal, they don't. As usual it becomes clear that they are only interested in highlighting the mistakes that the ANC has made. It is more important for them to make the ANC look bad instead of working with the nation to find solutions.

I know may not being fair here but I am human and my human insticts tells me that when something goes wrong especially in this tragic manner I do not wanna hear "I told you so" type of statements. Especially when it is coming from someone of Juanita's rank. It just does not sound right.

Everybody is making suggestions on how this problem could be alleviated. Yes, we are angry with the ruling party that our people have to be subjected to this indignity for an education but in a moment like this when we are all touched and mourning the senseless death of Mrs Sekwana, we do not need some political PR stunts. 

Juanita's statement, though it holds some merit, was ill timed and reeked of opportunistic politicking than a genuine concern about the future of our people. That unfortunately does not sit well with me. 

Let us be frank here. 99% of those kids in the stampede were BLACK. I do not think it looks good for a party that is seen to be a white party (they may not see themselves as such but majority of the people do) to just utter statements like that at a time like this. Right now pointing fingers is counterproductive. 

People ... South Africans, need to know that you care and sympathise with them. In this moment, we do not need politicians, we need human beings to help in finding solutions. Yes improving the standards in FETs is something that should be paramount to solving this crisis but attacking the minister and you do not even come up with any positive alternative is lame.

I have mentioned this before that the DA needs to stop being just an opposition party. Unfortunately they sometimes, if not always, come across as people who just sit around and wait for the ANC to mess up and suddenly they get a voice. 

For a change can the DA just come up with policies and projects that are independent of ANC's failures. 

Again I will reiterate that the concern about the state of FET is valid but resorting to attacks at a time like this was a bit tacky.

Condolences to the Sekwena family. What a sad story. Let it not happen again. Please politicians, show us you care.

UPDATE: The University Of Johannesburg has offered to pay for Kgositsile Sekwena's studies. The university has emphasised that there is no way they could replace Kgositsile's mother but they hope the financial help will ease the burden on the family as they come to terms with what happened. 

As for the government, they are doing inquiries as usual. 


Anonymous said...

eish phil thias is a sad story. your intro made it even worse becos i had to think if it was me what would i be feeling. the goenment must pay for kgosi's fees

Anonymous said...

I hope Kgositsile was able to register.

'melo said...

Tjo! such trauma. I cried! what a sad story. Pointing fingers now wont bring her back. Condolences to the Fam

Keith Recore said...

This should be taken as a "teaching moment" by all interested parties to say: "Never again!" Never again should citizens of SA experience such a tragedy. The powers that be of all parties and education should come together to honor the families of the injured by providing a solution, immediate and ongoing. It is fantastic to see the volumes of youth that want to be educated, stand as one and get this done in honor of Sekwena family, but also to honor the committment to a better educated SA and a least a chance for a better life. Let's see something positve come from something so, so tragic.

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