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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 reflects on the life of Charlotte Maxeke
2011-08-05

 

Some of the guests who attended the Charlotte Maxeke Lecture were from the left front: Carol Mokobe; Director of the Free State Provincial Government Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities; Prof.Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic; Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training; Dr.Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations(actg); Prof. Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations. Back from the left are: Dr. Derek Swemmer, Registrar and Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs.
Photo: Stephen Collett

More than 200 people, amongst them the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Prof.  Hlengiwe Mkhize, came together at our university to reflect on the life of ANC Women’s League stalwart Charlotte Maxeke, during the Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture organised annually by the Free State Provincial Government and our university as a lead-up to National Women’s Day on Tuesday, 9 August 2011.

This year was the fourth memorial lecture and Prof. Mkhize delivered the main address under the theme “Women’s access to education, science and technology for economic growth and development in bringing about positive change, living in extraordinary times”

Prof. Mkhize told guests Charlotte Maxeke’s life was too rich and complex to capture during the night and listed many of Maxeke’s achievements during her life and times. These included Maxeke being the first woman to graduate with a science degree from the University of Wilberforce, Ohio.  Prof. Mkhize said Charlotte Maxeke’s science degree was not a personal achievement, because she went back to the people and served by opening the Wilberforce Institute in Evaton, Vereeniging, after her return from the United States.

Prof. Mkhize applauded our university for organising the lecture, saying the university’s commitment was appropriate for the contribution Charlotte Maxeke made to women’s empowerment.  She said government have a huge interest in our university and said the lecture provided an opportunity to dialogue and to use the experience to improve the country’s institutions. Delivering the last part of her address, Prof. Mkhize said she hopes the lecture will lead to great things, with the local community also becoming involved in organising the event.

Dr. Choice Makhetha, Acting Vice-Rector:  External Relations, announced at the event that the university will open a women’s memorial garden on Tuesday, 9 August 2011  to honour women who made a contribution in society.
 

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