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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

Cultivating excellence and success through academics
2011-10-07

 

Unlocking potential. At the Golden Key South African Summit 2011 were, from the left: Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar (UFS); Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic; Mr Ryk Neethling and Ms Charlene Gunter, Director: Golden Key International Honour Society, South Africa.
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

More than 130 delegates are gathering for the Golden Key, South African Summit at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). Golden Key International Honour Society recognises academic excellence and uses knowledge to transform lives. It has 400 chapters in eight countries. Of South Africa’s 12 chapters, 11 were present at the summit.

Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic at the UFS, welcomed delegates from the respective chapters. She commended them for their perseverance and dedication to excel. “Your academic aspirations and commitment contribute to cultivating a culture of excellence. It will provide a better future for every South African citizen,” she said. Prof. Hay challenged delegates also to “act” by turning their knowledge into actions to advance not only themselves but also society. She also urged them to “discover” everything about themselves, their chosen disciplines, allies and oppositions. “Mostly, you must internalise the spirit of lifelong learning,” she said.

Mr Ryk Neethling, Olympic gold medallist and businessman, was the first keynote speaker. He took everyone through the steps that ultimately led to the moment of victory for him and his team. “We found a way to compete with heart and determination in the 2004 Olympic Games. We were prepared and we took everyone by surprise. “To achieve what one has set one’s mind to, we must dream big,” he said. “Play your part in the team and be confident. Remember that you are victors and not victims,” he urged. He further emphasised the importance of making one’s own luck and, most of all, never to give up.

Another speaker for the summit includes Ms Peggy-Sue Khumalo, former Miss South Africa. Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar (UFS) will present a workshop on Strategic Action Planning.

This event is the first external lecture that is presented in the Metro’s found in the new Health Sciences Building on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS.
 

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