A university is banning smoking on campus amid confusion about a supposed govt order
- The University of Pretoria has banned smoking as long as cigarette sales are illegal, MyBroadband first reported.
- It won't share the government instruction it says is behind that step, and the department of higher education and training isn't talking either.
- But other universities say they know nothing about such a smoking prohibition, and have no intention of changing their current policies.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The government has instructed institutions of higher learning to ban smoking on campuses, the University of Pretoria (UP) says – but apparently it is the only institution that got the memo.
MyBroadband this week first reported that students or staff caught smoking at UP facilities will now face disciplinary action.
The university told journalist Jan Vermeulen that this came after "a notice received from the Department of Higher Education and in line with the directives from the National Command Council", and that the ban on smoking would last as long as cigarette sales remain illegal.
The department of higher education and training (DHET) seemingly confirmed the ban notice to the publication.
But two other high-profile institutions confirmed to Business Insider South Africa that they could find no trace of such an instruction, after extensive searches and checks, and would not be changing their existing policies on smoking.
Other universities could not immediately find such a notice either, though they were still in the process of trying to confirm a negative late on Tuesday morning.
The University of Pretoria would not share the notice it had received from the DHET, and would not say why it would not share the notice. Instead it referred to a news article that quotes higher education minister Blade Nzimande telling students at a Durban college that they could be criminally prosecuted if caught smoking.
It is not clear on what basis Nzimande would have made such a claim. While the sale of cigarettes remain illegal under disaster management regulations, smoking cigarettes has never been banned.
A spokesperson for the DHET did not respond to email, SMS, or Whatsapp messages, and was not available by phone.
In a previous policy regulating smoking, the University of Pretoria said it “accepts the right of individuals to choose whether to smoke or not to smoke”.
See also an update to this article: The University of Pretoria banned smoking on govt orders that, it seems, never existed
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