UCT students broke the quarantine and protested at the catering office last week. Picture Supplied
UCT students broke the quarantine and protested at the catering office last week. Picture Supplied

UCT students complain over quality of food being served during mandatory isolation

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Mar 8, 2021

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Cape Town - University of Cape Town (UCT) returning students staying in catering and non-catering residencies in mandatory isolation have apparently not received any food, and some have been served rotten food.

Ntokozo Mahlangu, EFF Student Command branch chairperson at UCT, said the food quality problem was not new at the university.

Mahlangu said late last year they raised concerns about the food quality served in their dining hall and the university dismissed those complaints claiming that they were campaigning.

In line with the Covid-19 regulations, UCT subjected all residence students to seven days quarantine on their arrival, and it became the responsibility of the institution to provide food to students in both self-catering and catering residences.

However, Mahlangu said the matter of quarantine food was resolved after a lengthy engagement, and that the university decided to issue meal vouchers to students to purchase food for themselves.

"This is for the quarantine period and doesn't resolve the root of the problem. The question that is still in discussion is the state of our dining hall food, post the quarantine period," said Mahlangu.

Student representative council chairperson Declan Dyer said the first batch of vouchers was issued for four days, after which new vouchers were distributed.

Dyer said in addition to emergency meal vouchers, meal packs were also made available for self-catering residences since Friday.

Mahlangu said prior to the voucher distribution, they submitted their complaints to the residence council, however, nothing was changed, until students decided to break quarantine and protest at the catering office on Thursday.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the university has noted with regret the issues over quarantine meals experienced by some residence students in the last few days.

Moholola said the university has worked on addressing those as urgently as possible, and new measures have been put in place.

He said those measures, which have become possible to implement due to the country moving into lockdown alert level 1 (last) week, were being communicated to students.

"UCT has also noted that a group of students gathered on lower campus on Thursday, to express their discontent over issues around quarantine meals," said Moholola.

He said the university leadership was always committed to engaging with students over all issues and to resolving these as speedily and amicably as possible.

Cape Argus

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