It’s been a rocky start for both the Gauteng Department of Education and parents who want to apply for a place for their children in schools using the province’s #Admissions2017 site.

Parents have taken to social media to vent their frustrations about a large number of issues. Initially, the site went live on 11th April and was open for parents to register their details on the system.

The website crashed on its day of launch due to the huge numbers of incoming traffic and it was only reopened on Wednesday, 13th April. The MEC announced that parents no longer had to register first but that they would be able to register and apply at the same time starting today.

Applications were scheduled to open from this morning at 8am but this was pushed back to 10am and the delay has been exacerbated by a further two-hour delay announced by the MEC, while the department’s technical team works on making the system efficient.

Lesufi also announced that

A few parents spoke to about their experiences using the site so far.

Wayne Hall, says he got up at around 4am to ensure he had everything prepared for the initial 8am start to apply for a place in grade one for his young child who is currently in preprimary around Roodepoort.

“I have used the site every day it was “launched” before it fell over,” he says.

“They should have implemented a proper queuing system like Two Oceans [marathon] to minimise the load. Oh and tested it,” says Jeanette Verster, who has been trying to register for grade eight at a school in Northcliff.

Verster initially used her Sandton work address to apply, but says the system only allows her to apply at Rand Girls’ High School in Parktown.

“Once I get in [I still have the] incorrect GPS to deal with, telling me my son is zoned for a all girls school,” she says. “I was nearly finished this morning when the damn site went down.”

When using her home address, Verster says the site shows The Hill is the closest school. “The Hill is 33km from my house,” she adds. “It seems to give the same schools for most people living in the north, like they’ve tested with a tiny set of data.”

Ben Kelly, who is also applying for a grade eight place in Northcliff, also agreed that the site needs a queueing system. “I can’t even get in to the system,” he said.

“I tried last week before it all fell apart. I could load my details and my child but the GPS co-ordinates for the addresses I input were wrong,” he explains.

The department also announced that all applicants with waiting list numbers will be null and void, but that parents’ profiles will remain on the system and that parents need to reapply to get new waiting list numbers.

“I fully expected to have to re-enter everything this morning, but I didn’t get that far before the it got taken down”, Kelly said.

Lesufi will hold a briefing this morning to give clarity on the issues.