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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

Our Abe Bailey scholars are packing for the UK
2011-08-16

 

Nida Jooste and Ryan Lamb
Photo: Earl Coetzee

Academic excellence and strong leadership has become synonymous with our university, as our two Rhodes scholars for 2011, and the recent announcement of our two Abe Bailey scholars from the UFS have shown.

Nida Jooste and Ryan Lamb are two of the proud recipients of Abe Bailey Travel Bursaries and will be heading off to the United Kingdom on 26 August 2011, to visit several universities in England and Scotland. These two were chosen from hundreds of UFS applicants and will join Abe Bailey bursary holders from the rest of the country.

Both students are academic achievers, but also excel in other fields. This is what set them apart from the rest of the applicants for the bursaries.

Ryan (23), a Medical Physics honours student at our Faculty of Health Sciences, received the Senate Medal for the best bachelor’s degree student at the UFS. He was one of a hundred students at the Brightest Young Minds Summit this year and was one of the 2008 delegates to the World Youth Forum, hosted by the International Association for Poetry and Solidarity in Italy.

This young man is the founder of a group called Poets Anonymous, which provides a platform where poets, artists and dancers in Bloemfontein can express themselves.

Nida (21) is a very familiar face on our Bloemfontein Campus, as she served as the Deputy Chairperson of the Interim Student Council for the past year.

This fourth-year LL.B. student says she has known about the Abe Bailey bursary since her first year, but had to wait to apply, since the scholarship is only open to final-year students and junior lecturers. She applied last year, but did not even make it to the short list for candidates.

“I realise now that I was not involved enough then. Luckily I became much more involved in campus activities during the past year and also improved my academic performance greatly,” she says.

Nida and Ryan both hope to use the opportunity to learn new approaches to solving problems. Ryan says he is looking forward to the opportunity to network with other bursary holders and to share experiences with them, before returning to the UFS to implement what he had learned.

Nida says she also hopes to see how universities in First-World Countries operate, in order to apply that knowledge when she returns to the UFS.

 

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