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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

Student leaders take the lead by launching SRC Fund
2017-08-24

  Description: SRC Breakfast Tags: Student Representative Council, SRC Fund, Pura Mgolombane, Prof Nicky Morgan, Sikhululekile Luwaca

The Student Representative Council (SRC) launched the SRC Fund
at a Business Breakfast on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

     


The Student Representative Council (SRC) is not just asking for financial help, but is taking the lead by launching the SRC Fund. According to different guest speakers at a recent SRC Business Breakfast, the student leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) is setting an example.
“They (the SRC) are saying to us and to you: We are not just saying that we want free education in our lifetime. We are also prepared to assist government in assisting universities however we can in that direction,” says Pura Mgolombane, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS.

Objectives of fund

The SRC launched the SRC Fund on 4 August 2017 at the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus in order to fight against financial exclusion of students. The fund aims to centre all forms of fundraising initiatives by students, decreasing financial barriers to UFS entry, and utilising and maximising networks within business enterprise, former SRC members, alumni, and student fundraising initiatives. It also wants to help with the creation of exposure and mentorship programmes, funds to assist with registration and financial exclusions, entrepreneur development, partnership opportunities, and increasing employment opportunities.
Initiatives such as Right2Learn will in future form part of the fund, and fundraising initiatives such as The Cycle Tour and Kovsies Biggest Braai has also been launched.

Internal and external partnerships 
Prof Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS, says the SRC leadership is not just asking for money. He says they are a “can do leadership” who is asking others to help them to be successful. He also stressed the important relationship between the university and the city and asked that they should work together.
Sikhululekile Luwaca, President of the Bloemfontein SRC, said the SRC wants to “build internal and external partnerships, because universities are microcosms of society”. 
“We cannot do it alone and that is why we are trying to bring the business part of it, the corporate enterprise, to also assist the SRC Fund to become sustainable.”

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