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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

New residences for Qwaqwa Campus
2010-02-17

Rev Hosiah Nkoana
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe.


The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State will have new residences before the end of this year to ease the growing demand for student accommodation.

According to the Deputy Director of Housing and Residence Affairs at the Qwaqwa campus, Rev Hosiah Nkoana (pictured), the university is spending a lot of money on the rent and maintenance of the residences of the former colleges of education, Tshiya and Bonamelo, that the university has been using since 2004 to accommodate students.

The construction of these new residences will be carried out in two phases.

“The first phase will be university-funded and the residences will accommodate 200 students, male and female. The second phase will be a private development by a private developer. The residences in this phase of construction will accommodate 500 students – and this will be its first phase. It will then be followed by a second phase, depending on the demand for accommodation,” said Rev Nkoana.

“These residences will not necessarily be state-of-the-art residences but they will have good facilities that will underwrite our approach that residences are not just sleeping places.”

“We are developing a philosophy of turning our residences into learning and living areas. So, to get there we are going to put up a computer lab with 100-150 computers between the residences so that all resident students can access them to enhance the learning side of residence life. I hope this will change the way our students see residences,” he said.

Currently the residences at the Qwaqwa Campus can accommodate 770 students. The new residences are expected to be ready for occupation in the 2011 academic year.

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

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