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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

Golden Key Chapter of the UFS walks away with gold status
2011-10-13

 

This generation has to find a mission, something they can be as passionate about as their predecessors of the 1970s were. A greater nation has just risen. At the 2011 South African Golden Key Summit, were from left: Mr Ruddy Banyini, outgoing President: UFS Chapter; Mr Puso Thahane, President: Wits Chapter, and Mr Katleho Mohono, Vice-President (Internal): Wits Chapter.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Our university earned gold status as one of the top chapters in the country. This was one of four awards won by the UFS at the 2011 South African Golden Key Summit held at the Bloemfontein Campus from 6-8 October 2011.

Mr Ruddy Banyini, outgoing  Golden Key president (UFS) and the president of the Wits Chapter jointly received the Regional Student Leader of the Year award. The UFS Chapter also took third place for Best Community Service as well as for Best Campus Awareness Initiative. This follows hot on the heels of the chapter winning the Golden Key International Chapter Service Award for the second consecutive year in May 2011.
 
The summit also yielded some new challenges for all chapters. Mr Banyini and his counterparts from the University of Witwatersrand are on a mission to cultivate a nation of thinkers. This follows the successful hosting of a Thinkers Symposium by the Wits Chapter to determine the contribution thinkers could make towards shaping a better society. “This initiative will see all students on campus mobilised and actively participating,” Mr Banyini said. “Thoughts without action are just thoughts. We are all aware of social ills in our country, yet only a few come forth with a solution,” stated Mr Katleho Mohono (Wits).
 
The involvement of Golden Key members in helping to create solutions for national problems has triggered a series of think-tank symposiums organised by various chapters. The result has been an exponential growth in the numbers of those collectively involved in the on-line National Planning Commission’s consultative forum. “The impact of mobilising the best current academic achievers in Higher Education opens up exciting new possibilities through constructive student engagement with society’s issues,” Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar at the UFS,” said.

 

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