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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

Construction at Qwaqwa Campus creates jobs for local community
2010-05-28

At the construction site hand-over ceremony are, from the left: Dr
Elias Malete, Dr Dipane Hlalele, Prof. WF van Zyl and Mr Derek Canavan
(Freelance Construction)
Photo: Thabo Kessah


Local labour is set to benefit from at least 20 job opportunities that will be created during the building of new facilities valued at R13,5 million for the Faculty of Education on the Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

This was announced by Mr Derek Canavan, an architect from Freelance Construction, during the sod-turning ceremony held on the construction site recently.

The soon to be built facilities will include a 100-seater lecture hall, two 50-seater classrooms, an office block, ablution facilities, two separate laboratories for biology and science, as well as an IT laboratory with 70 work stations. All these facilities will be user-friendly to the disabled students.

Addressing a contingent of brains behind the project that included Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Manager of Physical Planning at the UFS, Dr Elias Malete, the Qwaqwa Campus Principal, said that this addition to the existing infrastructure would enable the campus to meet its enrolment and output challenges.

“These new facilities will no doubt increase the university’s academic and research capacity and will certainly help us respond positively to Minister Blade Nzimande’s call to institutions of higher learning to improve on scientific research. We are therefore pleased with this multi-million rand investment from the National Department of Education and the UFS,” he concluded.

Also attending was Dr Dipane Hlalele, Programme Head in the faculty, who was also pleased with the new facilities. “These facilities will help us to answer to our community’s needs of pre-school and foundation-phase teacher training which will be added to our study programme in January 2011. We will be introducing a new B.Ed. degree in Pre-school and Foundation phases and these facilities will help in the production of quality teachers for the benefit of our community,” he said.

The new building is expected to be ready for usage in June 2011.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (acting)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
27 May 2010
 

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