Cooking, sharing ban will hit poor students
Students at the University of Venda for Science and Technology have been banned from cooking in their residences.
This was announced at the opening of the university's academic year on Monday.
According to the university the rooms were not designed for cooking but only for accommodation.
In an interview with Sowetan, acting vice chancellor Jimmy Leatte said using hostel rooms as kitchens was a fire hazard and posed a danger to students.
"One solution is to introduce affordable basic meals to all students so that they will not cook in their rooms," he said.
The university is also facing the daunting challenge of accommodating its 10000 students.
There are 1665 beds, but more than 4000 students live on campus.
"We estimate that more than 4000 students are staying on the campus instead of the fewer than 2000 catered for. Having more than that number takes its toll on the ablution facilities and the allocated space," said Leatte.
He also said that students may not share rooms.
This, he said, applied even where students were prepared to and wanted to share their rooms.
Students' organisations are opposed to this rule and say that the background of students had to be considered regarding students' accommodation.
Burundi Nkanyani, chairman of South African Students' Congress (Sasco), said they accepted the university recovery plan initiated by the government, but they were opposed to the idea of not allowing students to share hostel rooms or cook in them.
"University management is talking to the Students' Representative Association (SRA) without consulting the students.
"There is a major shortage of accommodation, which needs to be provided soon," said Nkanyani
President of SRA Terence Kuaho also said that the university must think twice about its no-cooking rule because it would negatively affect poor students.
"I don't understand the university.
"The lecture rooms are overcrowded and yet they allow us to squat there, but they won't allow us to share our rooms in the residences," said Kuaho.
Leatte promised new students that the university was ready to offer them quality education and would deal with the problem of accommodation as soon as the recovery plan was complete.
The university would soon launch a capital campaign to raise funds that would go towards providing accommodation and infrastructure .