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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

Academic volunteers time on community radio
2017-12-25


 Description: Dr Marian Human-Nel Tags: Dr Marian Human-Nel 

Dr Marian Human-Nel
Photo: Supplied

Superior Scholarship. Human Embrace. Institutional Distinctiveness. Emergent Leadership. Public Service.

These are the core values underpinning both the university’s academic and human projects. It is the last one, public service, that resonates well with Dr Marian Human-Nel. She does her part as a radio presenter and news reader on Maluti FM 97.1, a Bethlehem-based community radio.

“As a community radio station, we are not only responsible for entertaining and informing the public, but we also do a lot of community fundraising projects. We also do a lot of wellbeing activities in the Eastern Free State,” said Dr Human-Nel, Subject Head and Lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Sharing of information and knowledge
Dr Human-Nel volunteers her services as presenter of two programmes. “I present Kollig in which I invite my Qwaqwa Campus colleagues and professionals in the community to talk about their specific fields of interest and research. The focus here is on information and sharing knowledge. We have a slot called ‘This Week in History’ written and prepared by my colleague from the History department.”

Another show that Dr Human-Nel presents is called Fluit-Fluit Storietyd on which she reads and does voice performance of Afrikaans short stories and poems with specific music. “The Fluit-Fluit programme informs and entertains through cultural activities,” she said.

Maluti FM broadcasts over a 160-kilometre radius around Bethlehem and is also available online.

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