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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 hosts Nobel Laureate
2010-01-15

The University of the Free State (UFS) will host the 1991 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Prof. Richard Ernst from Switzerland, on its Main Campus in Bloemfontein from 22-26 January 2010.

Prof. Ernst’s visit to the UFS is part of an extended tour of South African higher education institutions and the National Research Foundation. His visit will coincide with the fourth presentation of the Cheese fondue that had previously been presented with great success in Europe.

The Cheese fondue concept is the brainchild of Prof. Hartmut Frank of the University of Bayreuth in Germany, who is currently a visiting fellow at the UFS Department of Chemistry.

This concept posits that technical advances alone are insufficient for an agreement to be reached on the minimum respect between the various groups and individuals within a society. It proposes that for this to be achieved there has to be a concurrent development of empathy and emotional synergy. In other words, there has to be spiritual acceptance and tolerance of the different cultural or religious ways of coming to terms with the deep-seated need for a spiritual home.

To this effect the UFS will host a Braai Workshop on Saturday, 23 January 2010 to promote this understanding, hence this year’s theme Justice, a matter of respect, ethics and empathy. The invitation to the workshop is open to the public and those who are interested should confirm their attendance with Ms Stefanie Naborn on 051 401 2531 before Monday, 18 January.

Prof. Ernst will present a paper on Justice – the Culture of Responsibility;  Prof. Patrizio Bianchi, the Rector of the University of Ferrara in Italy, will focus on the topic After the Global Crisis: Justice and Wellbeing – the Goals of Economy; while Judge of Appeal, Fritz Brand will talk about Justice – the South African reality.

Prof. Ernst, Prof. Bianchi and Judge Brand will also take part in a panel discussion, together with the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS Prof. Jonathan Jansen and Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Law.

Subsequent to that, Prof. Bianchi will present a lecture on the topic Globalisation, Agriculture and Industrial Development in the CR Swart Auditorium on the Main Campus on Monday, 25 January 2010 from 10h00 - 12h00. Prof. Ernst's lecture is from 12h30 - 14h30.

For more information, contact Ms Stefanie Naborn on 051 401 2531 or at nabornsa@ufs.ac.za  or Prof. Aldo Stroebel on 051 401 3506/3403 or at stroebea@ufs.ac.za .

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
15 January 2010
 

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