Bakithi Mngomezulu, a first-year BCom student, mentioned how the prices are too expensive for what is offered. “The prices are too inflated compared to what you receive. If you look at the meals sometimes, I don’t think you are getting your money’s worth because they charge you R33 for two russians and chips,” said Mngomezulu.

TuksRes’s Food Services division told Perdeby that the meals are fairly priced. Students complain that chicken costs the same as red meat, but Food Services maintain that chicken and red meat are along the same grade. They also added that their food prices will remain the same for the whole year, regardless of the country’s economic fluctuations.

One of the changes implemented with the new dining hall is that students do not have to book meals in advance. Some students have complained that because of this, certain meals tend to finish quickly. This has also led to long queues. Other students, however, say that the fact that they do not have to book meals in advance is convenient for them. “It’s better this way, I know some of my friends in other residences book their meals and then something comes up during the day and they can’t make supper, so they forfeit that money,” said Andrew Cox, a first-year BSc student.

Second-year BCom student Leandra Sewell said, “I prefer the fact that we don’t have to book anymore, because sometimes when you had to book, [it’s either] you did not have time to book or you forgot. Now you can just come here, see what they have [and] if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it.”

Another problem that students have with the new dining hall is its distance. Jonathan Duurman, a second-year town and regional planning student, said, “My problem with the dining hall, when it’s raining especially, is that I have to walk in the rain or borrow someone else’s umbrella to get there.”

Dr Peter Martins, director of Food Services at UP, said that the changes came as a result of the university to adhere to government regulations.

“Renovating the old dining halls of each res in order to bring them up to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points standards would have meant more money, and students’ fees would increase as well. This was the best option financially.”

Send your comments on the new dining hall to perdeby@up.ac.za

Photo: Paul dos Santos

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