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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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UFS student's essay nominated for Berlin Roundtables
2010-02-22

Ms Chrismi-Rinda Kotze
Photo: Supplied


An essay by Ms Chrismi-Rinda Kotze, a staff member and student at the University of the Free State's (UFS) Unit for Language Management, has been selected for the 12th Berlin Roundtables on “Cultural Pluralism Revisited: Religious and Linguistic Freedoms”. The focus of this theme is on religious and linguistic minority rights and the challenges of multicultural societies.

Her essay entitled The Linguistic Landscape as Mechanism in Multicultural Societies, focuses on the importance of the written language in the public space as a mechanism with which to regulate and develop a multicultural society as it is a means of access to participation in society.

The Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality are international conferences that consist of workshops and lecture series for 30 to 65 participants selected by an international jury based on essay competitions. It provides a forum for international young academics and journalists to discuss the political and social challenges facing a global civil society.

At the end of each Roundtable, the Irmgard Coninx Foundation will award up to three participants a three-month research grant at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the Humboldt University in Berlin.

They are jointly organised by the Irmgard Coninx Foundation, WZB and the Humboldt University Berlin.

The Roundtables will take place from 7–11 April 2010 in Berlin.

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