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Monday, 29 March 2021

Addressing food security issues among students

FRONTLINERS: Residence Manager Chumani Mashwanyela and Residence Student Assistants   Asavela Vika and Likhaya Mqukuse distribute food parcels to needy students at DTL Residence. FRONTLINERS: Residence Manager Chumani Mashwanyela and Residence Student Assistants Asavela Vika and Likhaya Mqukuse distribute food parcels to needy students at DTL Residence.

One of CPUT’s core values is ubuntu, and the drive to supply food to needy students attests to this.

Last year the university established a Task Team under the ambit of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Operations, Prof Gilingwe Mayende, to develop a sustainable food security programme for the institution. The team has recently tabled a draft report during an Executive Management (EM) meeting for approval.

“The current initiatives have been on an adhoc basis with the Dean of Students’ office issuing vouchers after doing a due diligence, on a once-off basis to students in dire need,” says Tulani Nkuntse, Deputy Dean of Students.

Nkuntse adds that other similar efforts have been from individual staff members and that the Department of Student Affairs has also been assisting with food parcels, an operation which was facilitated by the HIV/AIDS Unit.

He says that needy students are identified using a “referral system”. “Most of the students are referred to us by lecturers, health practitioners from our clinic and from our counselling department. Our Residence Coordinators have also been instrumental in bringing these cases to our attention.”

After receiving the student’s name, due diligence is conducted and based on the outcome the student gets assisted, he confirms.

The draft report, which was tabled in front of the university management, entails the proposed plan on how the university will sustain rendering the support of this nature to students. “What I can say at this stage is that the principles on which the proposed model is based are underpinned by social justice, human rights and dignity,” adds Nkuntse.

Mayende says that EM expressed its general appreciation for the work done by the Task Team and that they made certain suggestions on how to “firm up” certain aspects of the model presented in the report. 

“A key suggestion that has been made is to ensure that the programme is brought into the ambit of the Second Stream Income Committee and to utilise institutional arrangements to support fundraising efforts that are already  in place at CPUT,” he adds.

In the past, about 400 needy students at CPUT residences have benefitted from food parcels, thanks to a collaborative project between the university management, residence managers and Residence Student Assistants.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.