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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

‘Gaza doctor’ Izzeldin Abuelaish visits UFS
2011-10-03

 

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Palestinian doctor who became the centre of a media firestorm in January 2009 when three of his daughters were killed and members of his family injured in an attack on Gaza, will be visiting our Bloemfontein Campus in October 2011. Dr Abuelaish, author of the bestselling I shall not hate: a Gaza doctor’s journey on the road to peace and human dignity, will be presenting two public lectures on 17 and 18 October 2011. He will be visiting the university at the invitation of Prof. Jonathan Jansen and will be hosted by the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice.

Dr Abuelaish, currently Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. He founded the Foundation “Daughters for Life” (www.daughtersforlife.com). During his visit, he will lead group discussions by using his personal biography to explain his commitment to the transformational value of a commitment to peace and human dignity. Dr Abuelaish will also be meeting with members of the medical fraternity and the Faculties of Education and the Humanities to discuss his foundation and its role in promoting women’s education.  
 
For more information on Dr Abuelaish’s visit, please contact Prof. Jaqueline du Toit at DuToitJS@ufs.ac.za or Prof. André Keet on 051 401 9808.

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