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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

UFS informs judicial officers about human trafficking
2010-08-11

At the conference on human trafficking for judicial officers were, from the left: Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS; Mr Ace Magashule, Premier of the Free State; Chief Justice, Justice S Nqcobo; Mr Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development; and Judge Faan Hancke, acting Judge President of the Free State.

Photo: Stephen Collett

The Faculty of Law’s Centre for Judicial Excellence at the University of the Free State (UFS) in cooperation with the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Gender Directorate hosted a conference for judicial officers from the Magistrate’s Courts, the Regional Courts and the High Courts on “Human trafficking: Equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all”.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Andries Nel delivered a keynote address at this event. He said that anti-human trafficking legislation would be passed in the near future. Also delivering a key note address at the conference was the Chief Justice, Justice Sandile Nqcobo.

The aim of the conference was to empower judicial officers on the topic of human trafficking. A number of presentations from amongst others Adv. Beatri Kruger from the UFS’s Unit for Children’s Rights served to inform magistrates and judges about the characteristics, causes, the human trafficking process and the consequences of human trafficking on victims. Delegates also discussed the impact of human trafficking on human rights and the comprehensive response to human trafficking with a clear focus on the victims’ rights during criminal proceedings.

This conference was attended by 100 judicial officers from across South Africa. 

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