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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

Public Tourism lecture at Qwaqwa Campus a first
2011-10-03

 

Attending the Tourism Month celebrations were from the left: Dr Elias Malete, Qwaqwa Campus Principal; Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk; and Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations (actg).
Photo: Thabo Kessah

Tourism Month was celebrated in style at our Qwaqwa Campus with the hosting of the first ever Public Tourism Lecture. The lecture was part of the national Tourism Month celebrations and was organised by the National Department of Tourism in partnership with the UFS, the Central University of Technology, Free State and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The keynote address was presented by UJ’s Ms Milena Ivanovic, whose paper was entitled Cultural Tourism – Global and Local Perspective. This presentation was followed by a discussion by a panel of experts, namely Prof. Doreen Atkinson, Ms Merle Naidoo (both from the UFS), Prof. Albert Strydom (CUT), Dr Webber Ndoro (African World Heritage Fund), Ms Leonore Beukes (Department of Tourism) and Dr Kevin Mearns (UJ).

In acknowledgement of the role that institutions of higher learning play in advancing the tourism agenda, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said that South Africa was now in a better position to welcome tourists compared to pre-1994.

“Before 1994 we had less than 500 000 foreign arrivals in the country while in 2010 we had over 10 million of whom 8 million were tourists. In 2006 only 26 airlines were using our airports, but now there are over 50 airlines,” he said.

Also in attendance were Free State MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mxolisi Dukwana, and the UFS team led by Qwaqwa Campus Principal, Dr Elias Malete, and Vice-Rector: External Relations, Dr Choice Makhetha.

The Tourism Month festivities were concluded by a tough, but informative Poster Presentation Competition that pitted UFS, UJ and CUT students against each other.

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