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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

Different religions introduced at UFS forum
2010-08-18

 
Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein.

The Inter-Religious Forum (IRF) of the Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS) has started a discussion series which offer the opportunity to different religions to introduce themselves. According to Rev. Maniraj Sukdaven from the Department of Religion Studies at the UFS, the purpose of the discourse series is to get to know more about one another’s religion within an atmosphere of respect.

During the last IRF meeting, Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein, gave a talk about the Jewish religion. According to him there is a wide range of Jewish people.

“The one thing, however, that all Jewish people have in common is the Torah or Law-Book. There are 613 instructions that help a Jewish person to organise his life according to the Jewish way of life. For example, a Jewish person who wants to obey the Torah would not consume dairy products and protein together. This life style is not only regarded as a religion, but a way of life, which constantly makes a person aware of his relationship with God,” he explained.

Another interesting fact that transpired during the discussion was that, for the first time in the history of the world, there are more Jews in Israel than in other concentrated areas across the world. Five (5) million Jews are currently living in Israel, while the remaining 10 million Jews are spread across the world.

During the meeting of the IRF forum, persons from amongst others the Baha’i, Hindu and Christian religions participated in the discussion. Other religions that have already been discussed are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Rastafarians.

The IRF will also be involved in the structuring of course material about the different religions and an inter-religious conference will be part of the IRF’s programme in 2011.

The IRF is the only institution of its kind at South African universities.



 

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