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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

Young PhD graduate gets international attention
2010-02-22

Dr Nalize Marais
Photo: Supplied


The youngest ever PhD graduate from the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Nalize Marais, has gained international recognition for her research study.

Her PhD thesis entitled Accountability and liability: an education law perspective on school leadership has been nominated for the Best Dissertation Award by the International Politics of Education Association. She will compete with two other finalists for this prestigious award.

The winner will be announced during the annual meeting and conference of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Denver, Colorado, in April this year.

Dr Marais’ research study was driven by the principles of democracy founded in the advancement of human rights, equality and dignity. It dealt with issues of training and development in legislative knowledge and interpretation to empower school principals in their roles as accountable officers in a politically transforming environment.

She obtained her PhD at the September graduation ceremony of the UFS in 2009. She was only 27 years old when she submitted her thesis, making her the youngest person to obtain a PhD in Education at the UFS.

She is currently an instructional designer at the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) at the UFS.

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