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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

Chitja Twala: leading ANC historian
2017-12-25

Description: Dr Twala spotlight Tags: Chitja Twala, ANC history, history, UFS Department of History 

Dr Chitja Twala is a leading historian on ANC history in the
Free State. Photo: Sonia Small

Dr Chitja Twala is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein Campus. Dr Twala has a substantial publication record on the history of the liberation movements, with special reference to the African National Congress in the Free State. He is the author of six chapters and has co-authored two in The Road to Democracy in South Africa: Vol. 4 (1970-1990) and The Road to Democracy in South Africa: Vol. 6 (1990-1996), published in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Dr Twala has a PhD in History from the UFS.

Dr Twala was part of the first group of the UFS Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP). He is currently collaborating with Prof Peter Limb from the Michigan State University in the United States of America on a book project on the history of the ANC in the Free State. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in local and international journals. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for Contemporary History, Yesterday and Today Journal, and South African Journal of Cultural Studies.

Awards received by Dr Twala:
The National Research Foundation
New frontier in Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development Funding
Recipient of the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences at the University of Harvard
US Recipient of the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant
Awarded the Mellon Foundation Scholarship 2016-2018


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