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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

One of the UFS's newest members welcomed at international organisation.
2011-03-13

Photo: Gerda-Marié Viviers
Prof. Hussein Solomon

One of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) newest members of excellence was recently welcomed as a new member at the relatively new, yet influential, internationally renowned Our Humanity in the Balance (OHIB) organisation. Prof. Hussein Solomon, a month old Senior Professor in Political Science at the university, said he has always wanted to have made a difference in people's lives and dreamt of becoming part of an organisation such as the OHIB. Proofing of Solomon's dedication to his roots, he believes his focus must remain with the African continent. ''I would like OHIB to focus on making the secession process in Sudan as peaceful as possible as well as focusing on ending the ongoing conflicts in Somalia, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These are immediate goals. In the medium term we need to examine the issues of democratic transformation in countries like Swaziland and Zimbabwe.''

As this Kovsie has worked in peace NGOs, advised diplomats and acts as a serving officer in the South African Air Force and an academic, the compilation of the OHIB board consisting of academics, former senior diplomats and military people and peace activists would be nothing new to him. ''My role is essentially to bring these disparate communities together and to focus energies on a common project. At the moment much attention is being focused on current developments in Libya.''

Other accomplishments of this former Tuks lecturer include Visiting Professor at the Global Collaboration Centre at Osaka University in Japan, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and also respective membership on the Security Council of the Gerhson Lehrman Group of Companies, the International Steering Committee of Global Action to Prevent War, and the International Advisory Council of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research in Hawaii. Prof. Solomon was selected in 2008 to serve on the Nelson Mandela Chair of African Studies at Jawahrlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India.

His current area of research expertise include conflict and conflict resolution in Africa; South African Foreign Policy; international relations theory; religious fundamentalism and population movements within the developing world. His publications have appeared in several countries around the world including Switzerland, The Russian Federation and Japan.

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