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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 Biggest Braai a huge success
2017-08-30

 Description: Braai Tags: Kovsie Biggest Braai, Kovsie, International Student Council 

Prof Francis Petersen, also attending the braai, is here being
interviewed by one of our #KovsieCyberStas, Thuli Molebalwa.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Even though Braai Day is celebrated nationally in September, students at the University of the Free State (UFS) had their own braai day. The Kovsie Biggest Braai was the biggest student community event of the year.

Takudzwa Nyamunda of the International Student Council said the idea for the braai came from the International Student Association as a social cohesion event for international students. “When the idea was presented to my office we realised the potential for such an initiative to be not just for students but for the whole Kovsie community.”  

They realised there were not a lot of social cohesion events on campus where students and staff could just take a day to relax and embrace the feeling of being a Kovsie. He said he believed the braai could provide the right platform. The main objective of this project was to make it an institutional event with aspects of fundraising for the future. 

Colleges made KBB a success 
An estimated 3500 people attended the festivities on Red Square on 12 August. “We used the college format for the braai and it was set in the form of a challenge between the five colleges, but one of the colleges pulled out,” Takudzwa said. The colleges that did participate made a big contribution towards the success of the event and did all the braaing and selling. 

Creating new Kovsie traditions 
The idea behind the pilot project is that it becomes an annual event which in turn will form part of a new Kovsies tradition. “It received endorsement from top management therefore I believe it will form part of the Kovsie calendar for years to come,” Takudzwa said. 

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