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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

A mind shift needed in agriculture in Africa
2010-12-02

Prof. Frans Swanepoel (Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development), Prof. Monty Jones, Prof. Driekie Hay (Vice-Rector: Teaching and Learning), Prof. Alice Pell (Cornell University, USA), and Prof. Izak Groenewald (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development) at the inaugural lecture of Prof. Jones as Professor Extraordinary. 
- Photo: Stephen Collett

Food stability is essential for stability in all countries around the world. Radical interventions, and not incremental changes, are necessary to end hunger and poverty in Africa, said Prof. Monty Jones, Professor Extraordinary in the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development at the University of the Free State (UFS), in his inaugural lecture.

Prof. Jones is Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and Chairperson of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). In his lecture he focused on the contribution of agricultural research to development and food security in Sub- Saharan Africa.

He said Africa is not known for good politics to promote food production. Countries under invest in research, education, knowledge management, agriculture finance, etc. There is also uncertain and restricted access to land. He specially mentioned women’s access.

Sub- Sahara Africa moved from being a net exporter of food to a net importer of food (28%). “Government spending on agriculture and transport went down and stagnated. A mind shift is necessary. Africa has the resources. We must take advantage of the opportunities,” he said, and added: “Africa must create visionary and inspirational leaders and managers who can drive developmental issues.”

Prof. Jones emphasised that fact that nutritional security is just as important as food security. The number of hungry people has grown to more than a billion in 2009. Hunger is the most severe in the developing world, especially Africa. Added to this is Africa’s population growth that i s also higher than the rest of the world. It is estimated that the demand for food in Africa will double in the next 40 years.

“Research and development alone cannot win the war against hunger in Africa. Everyone has a role to play,” he said.
– Leatitia Pienaar.

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