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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

Main Entrance at our Bloemfontein Campus now officially open
2011-08-12

 

Kovsies architectural student, Michael Cronjé, at the Main Entrance of our university. Cronjé came up with the design for the Main Entrance.
Photo: Rian Horn

Vice-Chancellor and Rector of our university, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, said the new Main Entrance is a proud legacy to the university.

This colourful Main Entrance was officially opened by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen,  on 8 August 2011 after construction had started earlier this year.

Prof. Jansen told the small group of people who attended the event that the gate symbolised a university where things were happening, a university which was transforming academically. It also symbolises the brand of the university that was launched earlier this year.

Prof. Jansen praised Kovsies architectural student, Michael Cronjé, who proposed the design for the Main Entrance. He told the fourth-year student that his children would be proud of his legacy to the university one day.

Cronjé designed the Main Entrance in his third year of study as part of a class competition. The architectural student’s design was developed further by The Roodt Partnership architectural firm. Cronjé says that his design with seven colourful columns symbolises the seven faculties of the university.

 

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