Halaal food is not provided at Wits dining halls. 

Muslim students at Wits University have complained that there is no halaal food provision at their student residences. This is according to the Muslim Students Association (MSA) who say they have received about twenty complaints about the lack of food options at campus dining halls.

“Having to cater for myself is a struggle. There are days where I wish I could join my friends to collect a meal at the dining hall so that it is one less responsibility and expense”, said first year student Lutfiyya Dean. Dean, who lives at Wits Junction res in Parktown, told Wits Vuvuzela that she choose Wits University to study at as it appeared to have “so much unity and diversity among the different students and belief systems”.

Chairperson of the Wits MSA Ishaaq Sader told Wits Vuvuzela that there are about 30 Muslim students living in Wits residences and that is imperative for them to eat halaal food.

“Muslims prepare a prayer over the animal in any given slaughter. It is imperative that Muslims eat halaal food, as it is a commandment set out in our Quran”, Sader said.

“Eating halaal is compulsory upon us, it is not merely a dietary requirement”, he added.

The dining halls are operated by two companies, Ukweza Catering and Royal Mnandi Food Service Solutions, contracted by the Wits Services division.

Bontle Mogapi, Wits Services Student Liaison officer told Wits Vuvuzela that, “When students display an interest to live at the residences, they are given a leaflet that stipulates that the university is not able to cater for students’ individual dietary needs”, Mogapi said. “Both halaal and kosher diets aren’t provided for. These students are then given the option of being sent to self-catering residences,” she told Wits Vuvuzela.

Mogapi added that all “the dining halls offer meals that include a vegetarian diet”.

Mogapi said that there have been requests for halaal food from day students in the past but the option was not feasible for the university as the university would need to set up a halaal certified kitchen in residences which is costly. “The demand was also not high”, said Mogapi.

Mogapi told Wits Vuvuzela that management is flexible and can revisit the request if there is a demand.

“A feasibility study will have to be done to determine the number of students who require halaal dietary meals and they will be required to place orders in advance to determine the viability of such a service”, Mogapi said.

FEATURED IMAGE: Students being served lunch at one of the campus food service providers