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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 appoints honoured scholar
2010-08-16

Prof. Johann Neethling

The University of the Free State (UFS) has recently appointed Prof. Johann Neethling as a senior professor in the Faculty of Law. Prof. Neethling is a nationally and internationally recognised expert in the field of Private Law, which is also the department he will be joining.

Throughout his career, he has lectured at various universities in South Africa. He also received numerous awards, including a B1 rating as a researcher from the National Research Foundation (NRF). He enjoys considerable international recognition for his high quality research work and he is a leading international scholar in his field.

Prof. Neethling received various scholarships for research and overseas visits, the most prestigious being the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung scholarships for research on unlawful competition at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany. He also received a graduate fellowship from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has also been awarded an NRF grant of R80 000 per year to conduct research in Belgium and The Netherlands for the period 2009-2014. He will visit these countries in September this year. Prof. Neethling also received an open invitation from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to apply for a renewed stay in Germany at any time.

He is one of the 25 professors selected by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, to enrich the various faculties at the university. Prof. Neethling will be based in Pretoria. His primary focus will be research outputs in conjunction with the Department of Private Law in the Faculty of Law at the UFS.

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

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