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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

Prof. Jansen welcomes students in Leadership Programme back on campus
2010-10-29

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, with Lebohang Molefe, Thabiso Nkohli, Kgotso Maya and Samkelisiwe Zulu.

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Jonathan Jansen, was pleasantly surprised by what the first-year students who went to the United States on a Student Leadership Programme told him on their return.

“I am so happy that these students’ views on life in general have changed for the better in such a short period of time. This trip to the USA has certainly made a big impact on their lives. I sincerely hope that they will use the opportunities offered by the UFS to study even further,” said Prof. Jansen during his recent visit to the Qwaqwa Campus where he met with students who went on a two-week US tour earlier this month.

“The trip to various universities, like the New York University, the Cleveland State University, the Mount Holyoke College, the Cornell University, amongst others, made us to be proud South Africans. We were encouraged by the patriotic spirit displayed by American students and we are confident that UFS students, black and white, can start spreading that to the entire country,” said Kgotso Maya, a BA student majoring in Sociology.

The five students were part of the leadership programme exclusively designed for first-year students.

 

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