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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

Women must fight for equal opportunities - Motshekga
2010-08-06

 
Photo: Stephen Collett

“We will not know peace and prosperity unless all women are free. We must open opportunities for women and make sure that we achieve the necessary progress. I believe this would be the best way to honour the life of Charlotte Maxeke.”

This rallying call for action was made by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga (pictured), in her speech to commemorate the life of Charlotte Maxeke, a woman she described as “a heroine” to all South Africans.

The University of the Free State (UFS), in conjunction with the Free State Premier’s office, presented the annual Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein to once again honour this remarkable African woman as part of celebrating Women’s Month.

“We must ensure that we act consciously to extend equal opportunities, freedom and justice to all women,” she said. “We must put all our energies together in this task of uplifting women and children.”

She said that even though women had made considerable strides since the advent of democracy in South Africa, especially in government, much still had to be done to ensure equal opportunities for all women.

“There’s a 40% women representation in government, but the question we should ask ourselves is: What value does this representation bring to the life of an ordinary woman? What impact does it have on her life?” she asked.

She said women were still less represented in managerial positions. “Sexism requires the same amount of energy that we use to fight against racism,” she said.

She also announced that the government had decided to declare the graves of Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi and Helen Joseph as national heritage sites.

The well-attended lecture was entitled: United in action to make 2010-2020 a decade for women in Africa.

Among those present were members of the ANC Women’s League, who came in buses and mini-buses; Dr Allan Boesak and his wife; past and present Free State MECs; and the Vice-Rector of External Relations at the UFS, Prof. Ezekiel Moraka.

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

 

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