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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

Distinguished academic bids farewell to UFS
2008-09-05

 
Prof Nel and his wife, Olivia

The Director of the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) at the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Phillip Nel, is leaving the University after 33 years of service.

Prof Nel has decided to scale down his involvement with the UFS and CAS to spend more time with his wife, Olivia, and his family and doing more research.

“There comes a time that one must go and this is it for me, but from time to time I wonder whether I have done all that I was meant to do”, said Prof Nel. “I strongly believe that no one is irreplaceable and I know that the Centre for Africa Studies is in good hands.”

His successor, Prof Anwar Osman, an internationally renowned academic himself, assumed the directorship of CAS on 1 September 2008.

“My intention is to build on the groundwork done thus far and to broaden the teaching and research base of the Centre to include the natural sciences as well, truly making CAS a beacon for multidisciplinary study”, said Prof Osman.

“The future success of this centre will be a lasting testament to Prof Nel’s visionary leadership.”

Although he will be leaving the ranks of the full-time employed at the UFS, Prof Nel will still be involved with CAS’s research programme and still has a number of active research projects, such as the SANPAD Project, entitled Communities in Communion, which involves the dynamics of sacred sites and individual and community cultural and spiritual identity construction.

He launched CAS in 2007 to promote a stronger focus on African issues in all activities at the UFS and to fulfil an academic role by linking the realities of Africa to education, research and community service programmes.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
4 September 2008
 

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