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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 presents workshop on plea bargaining
2010-02-09

At the workshop were in front: Prof. Hennie Oosthuizen, Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the UFS; back: Judge Faan Hancke, Adv. Jo Hiemstra of the Office of the Director Public Prosecution in the Free State, Judge President Hendrick Musi and Judge of Appeal Fritz Brand.
Photo: Stephen Collett


The Centre for Judicial Excellence in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently presented a workshop on plea bargaining. This is the fourth workshop in the series of workshops on effective court management and the expedition of trials that started in 2007.

According to Judge Faan Hancke, the Chair of the workshop and also Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Process Law at the UFS, selected members of the judicature such as Judge of Appeal Fritz Brand, Judge Albert Kruger – who is amongst others the author of an important book on the criminal process – and Judge President of the Free State High Court, Hendrick Musi, conducted presentations at this workshop.

Judge Hancke’s lecture focused on the basic principles of plea bargaining. “Abroad, the plea agreement is effectively applied to shorten court procedures. This gives them a 80 percent saving on court cases with regard to serious crime, where we in South Africa save less than five percent on court cases.

The workshop was attended by magistrates, attorneys, advocates, the UFS Law Clinic and members of the Legal Aid Council. According to Mr Lukas Brand, a magistrate from Botshabelo, this workshop is a must for each jurist. More members of the legal profession must attend these kinds of workshops because there are many people who lack the necessary knowledge on some of the stipulations in the criminal procedure.
 

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