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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 to honour two of Celtic’s founder members
2011-04-20

At the lunch were, from the left: Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations (acting); Mr Norman Mathobisa and Mr Victor Mahatanya, both founder members of the Bloemfontein Celtic Soccer Club; and Mr Billy-Boy Ramahlele, Director: Community Engagement at the UFS.

In this year, the University of the Free State (UFS) will recognise two of the founder members of the Celtics Soccer Club in Bloemfontein, Mr Norman Mathobisa and Mr Victor Mahatanya, for establishing one of the greatest soccer clubs in South Africa.

 

The Vice-Rector: External Relations (acting) at the UFS, Dr Choice Makhetha, and Mr Billyboy Ramahlele, Director: Community Engagement, recently had lunch with Mr Mathobisa and Mr Mahatanya. “As the university has a partnership with the Celtics Soccer Club, we would like to make an effort to get to know the founder members of this club better,” said Dr Makhetha.

 

At the lunch meeting Mr Mathobisa and Mr Mahatanya shared their experiences and other involvement in sport in the Free State over their lifetime.

 

Mr Norman Mathebula also serves on the Mangaung University Community Partnership Project (MUCPP) Committee who is working in partnership with Standard Bank in giving loans to SMME businesses.

 

Mr Mickey Gordon, Head: Corporate Affairs, Institutional Advancement and Sport at the UFS, is managing the working relationship with the Celtics Soccer Club. In terms of this agreement the soccer club, will amongst others, support Kovsie soccer players with skills development and hey will also conduct talent scouting.

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