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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

Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French impresses at conference
2010-02-24

 
The five staff members from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the UFS who recently made history at a conference held at the University of Pretoria (UP) were, from the left, front: Ms Swart, Prof. Steyn, Dr Van den Berg; back: Mr Senekal and Prof. Van Coller. Photo: Supplied


Five staff members from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently made history at a conference at the University of Pretoria (UP). The department presented the most papers coming from one department and university at a conference entitled “Patryspoort na buite”. Ms Corlietha Swart, Prof. Jaap Steyn, Dr Cilliers van den Berg, Mr Burgert Senekal and Prof. Hennie van Coller all presented excellent papers at the conference.

According to Ms Swart, three of the five papers focused on different aspects of the author and linguist, G.R. von Wielligh. The Von Wielligh papers took up a full session of the conference.

With Von Wielligh’s 150th commemoration in 2009, the National Afrikaans Literature and Research Centre (NALN), under the auspices of the curator Mr Otto Liebenberg, decided to research this underrated figure’s contribution. Swart’s paper titled “Landmeter Von Wielligh op ongekarteerde taallandskap”, took a look at this figure as a linguist. Prof. Steyn focused on “G.R. Von Wielligh as historikus van die ‘eerste’ Afrikaanse taalbeweging” and Prof. Van Coller’s paper concentrated on “G.R. von Wielligh se bydrae tot die voorsiening van Afrikaanse leesstof en die kweek van ’n leeskultuur: ’n literêrhistoriese perspektief op sy skeppende prosa”.

Dr. Van den Berg read a paper on “Die transmissie van trauma: ‘Tralievader’ deur Carl Friedman” and Mr Senekal’s paper gave an overview of “Die representasie van vervreemding in hedendaagse Afrikaanse protesmusiek”.
- Lize du Plessis

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