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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 committed to a two-language model
2010-08-13

  Prof. Jonathan Jansen

The University of the Free State (UFS) will continue to use a two-language model while it builds capacity for research and teaching in Sotho languages.

This was announced by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, when he delivered the 29th DF Malherbe Memorial Lecture on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein yesterday, on the topic: The politics and prospects of Afrikaans, and Afrikaans schools and universities.

“In the course of time black students will learn Afrikaans, white students will learn Sesotho, and all students will learn decent English,” he said.

“Classes will remain in English and Afrikaans, especially in the first years of study. Dual-medium classrooms will break down the racial isolation where outstanding university teachers are comfortable in both languages. Parallel-medium classes will exist where large numbers enable such a facility.”

He said schools and higher education institutions that continue to use language as an instrument of exclusion, rather than inclusion, would remain “culturally and linguistically impoverished”. He said the future of Afrikaans in these institutions lay in its inter-dependence and co-existence with other languages.

“A strong two-language model of education, whether in the form of double- or parallel-medium instruction within a racially integrated campus environment is the only way in which Afrikaans can and should flourish in a democratic South Africa,” he said.

“It is the only model that resolves two problems at the same time: the demand for racial equity, on the one hand, and the demand for language recognition, on the other hand.”

He said the idea of an exclusively Afrikaans university was a “dangerous” one.

“It will lock up white students in a largely uni-racial and uni-lingual environment, given that the participation rates in higher education for Afrikaans-speaking black students are and for a long time will remain very low,” he said.

“This will be a disaster for many Afrikaans-speaking students for it will mean that the closed circles of social, cultural and linguistic socialization will remain uninterrupted from family to school to university.

“Rather than prepare students for a global world marked by language flexibility and cultural diversity, students will remain locked into a sheltered racial environment at the very stage where most South African students first experience the liberation of the intellect and the broadening of opportunities for engaging with the world around them.

“The choice at the Afrikaans universities, therefore, must never be a choice between Afrikaans and English; it must be both.”

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

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