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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.


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Fifth-generation member of the Steyn family registers for Law at the UFS
2010-01-21

At the registration of a fifth-generation member of the of Steyns at the Faculty of Law are, from the left: Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Colin Steyn Junior, first-year LLB student and Adv. Colin Steyn, Director of Public Prosecution in the Free State.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs


Colin Steyn Junior registered as a student in the five-year LLB programme in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) this year. This former learner from Grey College is a member of the fifth generation of the Steyn family who will study Law at the UFS. Besides the fact that a member from each generation of the Steyn family has studied at the UFS, Colin Steyn, who later became Minister of Justice, also lectured here in the early 1900s.

Advocate Colin Steyn, Director of Public Prosecution in the Free State, who himself studied under Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, brought his son to register at the UFS. Colin Junior, who is staying in the Agricultural Residence on the Paradys Experimental Farm, said he enjoyed Rag and that he was looking forward to student life at Kovsies. “I want to become an attorney and I want to farm part-time,” he said.

According to Prof. Henning there is no other family of which five generations studied at one faculty at this university.

“You walk into an environment where your father, brothers and other family members have studied. It feels like your own home and immediately you also feel at home. The Faculty of Law here in the heart of the Free State is an institution of excellence,” said Adv. Steyn.
 

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