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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

New developments in the Faculty of Theology and Religion
2017-08-30

Description: Theology read more Tags: Faculty of Theology and Religion, name change, Prof Fanie Snyman, restructuring, teaching and research 

Bishop JM Khumalo, Apostolic Church of
Christ; Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the
Faculty of Theology and Religion; and
Rev Simon Galada, Wesleyan Church,
at the faculty’s official opening in
February 2017. 
Photo: Eugene Seegers



At a meeting of the UFS Council last year, a name change was accepted for the Faculty of Theology, renaming it to the Faculty of Theology and Religion. This change signals openness in approach to other religions, in addition to those of Christian denominations. This is a development that took root in Europe a few years ago. Furthermore, a growing field of interest is the study of the impact religion has had and still has, even in highly secularised societies. This name change is the first of its kind in South Africa, which means that the faculty will lead the way in transformation and impact-based religious studies.

Exciting times lie ahead
Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the faculty, says of these refinements: “The new name and restructuring of departments will lead to a new synergy that will have an impact on our teaching and research in the faculty. Exciting times lie ahead for the Faculty of Theology and Religion!”

Apart from the change in the name of the faculty, departments within the faculty were also regrouped, with new names. The Departments of Old Testament and New Testament merged to become the Department of Old and New Testament Studies, while the Departments of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology merged and will now be known as the Department of Historical and Constructive Theology. The former Departments of Practical Theology and Missiology became the Department of Practical and Missional Theology. The Department of Religion Studies remained unchanged to emphasise the importance of religion in South Africa and the world at large.
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Distinction of theological disciplines
The rationale for these groupings is the distinction of theological disciplines in terms of the study of texts (Old and New Testament), sources (Systematic Theology and Church History), and practices (Practical Theology and Missiology). One benefit of these newly-constructed departments is that they will be more cost-effective, but the more important advantage is that this will stimulate discussion and research across the various theological disciplines.


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