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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Housing strategy must accommodate special needs
2005-10-17

Dr Mark Napier of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) 

South Africa’s housing strategy must give attention to people with special needs, including people with disabilities as well as people living with HIV / AIDS and those in poverty.

This was the view expressed by Dr Mark Napier of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) during his recent presentation to the Housing Research Day organised by the Centre for Development Support (CDS) at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Dr Napier previously worked in the national Department of Housing and was involved in shaping the recently launched “Breaking New Ground” housing strategy of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. 

He said the changing social and demographic trends in South African society, especially after 11 years of democracy, required more flexibility in housing delivery to address the housing needs of different groups of people.  “For example, there are people who wish to or may be required to be spatially mobile because of their work or other reasons. There are also those communities who are vulnerable to disasters,” he said.

According to Dr Napier, housing delivery faced a number of challenges which needed to be addressed, including:

  • the withdrawal of larger construction firms
  • perceptions of low profit margins in the private sector
  • the slow process of developing an emerging contractor sector
  • access to bridging and other finance
  • the ability to retain capacity and expertise mainly at municipal level
  • the acquisition of well located (especially inner city) land

Dr Napier said the new housing strategy – which is called “Breaking New Ground” – tries to go beyond the provision of basic shelter to the establishment of sustainable settlements. It is also tries to be more responsive to housing demand rather than being supply led.

 The new strategy also allows for greater devolution of power to municipalities in the provision of housing, through accreditation to manage subsidies, Dr Napier said. 

He said a survey of people who had benefited from government’s housing programme had shown mixed results, with beneficiaries reporting a sense of security, independence and pride.  Although the location of the houses was poor and there were increased costs, most beneficiaries said they were better off than before, according to the survey.  Beneficiaries also highlighted the problem that they had very little personal choice between houses, sites or settlements.

There was also the perceived failure of developers and municipalities to repair defective houses or adequately maintain settlements, the survey found.
Many beneficiaries also reported that they felt unsafe in their settlements as well as in their own houses.

Prof Lucius Botes, the director of the Centre for Development Support, said the research day highlighted the Centre’s ability to interact with real problems faced by communities, by government, the private sector and civil society.  “This is how we can ensure that the UFS is engaged through our research with our people’s problems and challenges and enables the UFS as a place of scholarship to assist in finding solutions,” Prof Botes said.

Media release
Issued by:Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
17 October 2005   
 

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