18 September 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
Students urged to help combat crime
What to do in case of an attack? The UFS taekwondo team taught students a trick or two.

Speaking at the official opening of Safety Week, newly elected Student Representative Council (SRC) president of the Bloemfontein Campus called for students to come to the party in the fight against crime. “We encourage students to participate because it cannot just be the SRC, university management, and the police. Students need to join the Community Police Forum because these platforms are there for us to engage in. You must not die in silence, if there is a problem, raise it,” said Sonwabile Dwaba.

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Protection Services in collaboration with the university’s BSafe campaign hosted the Safety Week from 3-6 September 2018 on the Bloemfontein and South campuses with the objective of keeping students and staff members informed on the measures in place, addressing pressing safety-related concerns, brainstorm ideas on how to beef up security, and distributing safety souvenirs.

Collaborative efforts encouraged

Brigadier Maehlo Lento, reporting on behalf of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Provincial Commissioner, said: “Robbery incidents have subsided but we still need to make sure that we continue and collaborate with students and all other roleplayers to make sure that we sustain the safety.”

The collective participation sentiment was also reflected by Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector: Operations. “We are hoping through our annual Safety Week to reiterate our commitment to the safety of students, as well as bringing all roleplayers together to reflect on areas of cooperation and collaboration in an effort to improve the safety of student.”

Not just physical safety

Issues of mental health were discussed by the Next Chapter student organisation, while Embrace a Sister student organisation spoke about femicide and the safety of women. The scourge of gender-based violence formed the focal point of the Gender and Sexual Equity office’s address. In addition the Student Counselling and Development division offered invaluable advice on where those who exhibit symptoms of depression can seek help.

Other stakeholders who contributed to the success of this year’s Safety Week were the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Department of Police, Roads and Transport, as well as Sector 3 Community Police Forum. 

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