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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

Max du Preez on South Africa’s leadership vacuum
2011-08-29

 

Present at the CR Swart Memorial Lecture was, from the left: Prof. Hussein Solomon, senior Professor in our Department of Political Science; Prof. Theo Neethling, Head of our Department of Political Science; Max du Preez and Prof. Lucius Botes,Dean of our Faculty of Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Much has been going wrong in South Africa in the last few years and it’s all due to a lack of strong, visionary leadership. South Africans deserve better and should demand more integrity, courage and vision from the present political leadership,” veteran journalist and author Max du Preez told the audience at a packed Wynand Mouton Theatre at our university, on 25 August 2011.

Delivering this year’s CR Swart Memorial Lecture on the topic “Of Jacob, Julius, Jimmy and the Dancing Monkey”, Du Preez told the audience to look with much more critical eyes at the political leadership and decide who is doing the obvious, following his or her basest instincts or simply trying to play to the gallery. “Why look at a man like Julius Malema and let him upset us, why listen to Floyd Shivambu with his crude manners and let them define us?” Du Preez asked the more than 300 people attending the memorial lecture. The CR Swart Memorial Lecture, the 41st hosted by the UFS, attracted one of the largest crowds ever for a public lecture, with some people sitting on the steps inside the auditorium of the Wynand theatre.
 
Telling the story of African philospher Morena Mohlomi, who acted as a teacher to Basuto king Moshoeshoe, Du Preez told the audience that the country needs counter-intuitive leadership like the two leaders had demonstrated. Calling Mohlomi southern Africa’s first Pan Africanist, Du Preez said the extroadinary thing about Morena Mohlomi and his student was their gift of counter-intuitive leadership, leadership that was daring and visionary, leadership that did not simply do the obvious. Pointing out other visionary leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Beyers Naude and Van Zyl Slabbert, Du Preez urged the audience to question “the quality of leadership of Cosatu, the Democratic Teachers Union that is messing up our education, the Communist Party, the Democratic Alliance, the Freedom Front Plus and Solidarity. If they don’t live up to our expectations, why do we still tolerate them?” Du Preez asked.
 
Du Preez also commended Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, for his counter-intuitive leadership regarding the Reitz Residence incident and said Prof. Jansen’s solution, as controversial as it was, brought a much better outcome.
 
Please find attached the full speech of Max Du Preez.

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