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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

Business leaders impressed with our university
2011-08-18

 

David Nkwenkweza, an employee of the Unit for Students with Disabilities at the UFS, with from the left: Gerhard Joubert, Head: Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS Insurance; Tsholo Diale, Corporate Social Investment Manager at Afrisam, and Mpho Letlapo CEO of the Sasol Inzalo Fund
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

Business leaders from some of South Africa’s top companies visited our Bloemfontein Campus on Tuesday, 16 August 2011. Business leaders, which included chief executive officers (CEOs) and top managers from companies, such as Intel, First National Bank and Mediclinic flew in from Johannesburg. They were taken on a trip around campus, meeting university staff and students.

The purpose of the visit was to introduce them to the UFS and some of its projects. It was furthermore to share ideas about what role the university need to play in preparing future leaders for the market place.
 
Walking around campus, the group of business leaders visited the different faculties, some departments, as well as the bustling Thakaneng Student Centre.
 
Ms Mpho Lethlapo, CEO of the Sasol Inzalo Fund, said the UFS campus was different from what she had envisioned. She was impressed with our Unit for Students with Disabilities and said the outstanding facilities at the unit were a necessity as people with disabilities form part of society.
 
Mr Pule Mokoena, Group Executive: Sales and Marketing of Innovation said his trip to the university was an eye-opener as he had certain perceptions about the university. He expressed admiration towards Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and said his outlook towards learning was commendable. Mr Mokoena furthermore said the people on the UFS campus were more open-minded than what he had expected and said everywhere he went staff said they only wanted what was best for their students. According to Mr Mokoena, Kovsie students are the type of graduates business leaders want to employ.
 

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