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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

Kovsie’s short film in top 10 at Jozi Film Festival
2017-08-15

Description: The Ascension Tags: The Ascension, Dieter du Plessis, Kovsie student, Jozi Film festival, Discover Networks Africa  

The public can now vote for Dieter du Plessis’
short film, The Ascension, in the Don’t Stop Wondering
competition at the Jozi Film Festival. Photo: Supplied

An outdoor running adventure, a passion for filmmaking and a scenic environment is what made Dieter du Plessis create the adrenaline-driven short film The Ascension.

Dieter, a second year BSc Quantity Surveying student, made the film, which is in the top 10 of the Don’t Stop Wondering competition at the Jozi Film Festival, in partnership with Discovery Networks Africa. “I always had a passion for filmmaking and when a friend informed me about the competition, I just had to enter,” Dieter said.

The Ascension follows trail runner, Simeon du Toit, across a mountainous landscape leaping and running over rugged terrain. Simeon also provides the voice-over that explains the essentials of mountain climbing. Simeon is a keen climber and was the perfect casting choice as he is familiar with the area. “The competition wants to embrace the African spirit, so I wanted to shoot outside to truly capture the African landscapes.”

The Ascension first aired on the Discovery Channel on DStv channel 121 on 1 August 2017. It will air again on 17 and 23 August 2017 at 13:35 and 20:00 respectively. The competition closes on 30 August 2017.

 

To vote for The Ascension, go to the Discovery Africa website.

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