The University of Zululand might have been on the receiving end of bad press in 2016, particularly over a "degrees for sale" scandal, but this has not stopped many qualifying matriculants from applying for admission at the institution.

The university has received more than 80,000 applications, but has space for only 5,000.

Spokeswoman Gcina Nhleko said on Thursday that the university was surprised to get so many applications. She said the university would not allow walk-in applications out of the fear of a stampede of students jostling for places.

The university’s main campus is situated in KwaDlangezwa, 19km south of Empangeni and about 142km north of Durban.

"We plead with prospective students to log [in] online as we will not be attending to walk-ins, Nhleko said. "The process of application is handled by the CAO [central applications office]. Students can either call the CAO or check online whether their applications have been successful."

In September Sunday Times reported that more than 4‚000 students had allegedly paid for "fake degrees" over a 20-year period.

There were also allegations that some male lecturers were passing and awarding female students with marks in exchange for sex.

Nhleko said investigations into these allegations were under way. "Findings [into these investigations] will be communicated and the academic who was pinpointed has subsequently resigned from the institution."

She said the university looked forward to a peaceful academic year in 2017.

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