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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

UFS Centenary ends with a weekend of festivities
2005-02-04

The University of the Free State ’s (UFS) Centenary celebrations will come to an end this weekend with a packed programme.

“We celebrated this momentous milestone of the UFS since 28 January 2004 and want to end the year on a high note,” said Mr Jan Ras, Centenary Coordinator.

The weekend will start on Friday 4 February 2005 when Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, will open the UFS officially. This will be followed by an historic photo of all staff and students who are on campus that day. All staff will be wearing their academic gowns and the Centenary emblem will be depicted.

The annual Kovsie Engen Rag, with We thank you South Africa as theme, will take place on Saturday 5 February 2005 . The procession will start at 08:00 from the UFS Kovsie church and will move down Nelson Mandela Drive and right into Markgraaff Street exit until it reaches St Andrew’s Street. From here it will turn right into Kings Way where it will stop at the Art Market at 10:00 . Prof Frederick Fourie will then propose a toast on the procession. Afterwards the groups and orchestras will step out and the floats will move through the center of town around Hoffman Square and then back to the UFS campus.

According to Mr Ras a reunion for the Student Representative Council (SRC) will also take place this weekend. About 100 former SRC members are expected to attend the planned activities.

The weekend will be concluded on Sunday 6 February 2005 with a special service of devotion, hosted by all the interdenominational groups on the campus. The service starts at 18:00 for 18:30 in front of the Main Building of the UFS and will be a celebration of praise, thanks and worship, followed by a message from Dr Wollie Grobler. The evening will be concluded with a mass choir and a fireworks display.

“Members of the public are welcome to attend the service of devotion and are requested to bring a candle for the purpose of the mass choir. Although chairs will be arranged in front of the Main Building , people are requested to bring extra pillows and blankets to sit on,” said Mr Ras.

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