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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

ANC Centenary Dialogue reflects on past leadership
2011-10-12

 

Making their mark at the ANC Centenary Dialogue were, from left to right: Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo, Senior Professor: Centre for Africa Studies (UFS); Dr Adekeye Adebajo, Director: Centre for Conflict Resolution (Cape Town); and Prof.  E C Ejiogu, Senior Researcher: Centre for Africa Studies (UFS). 

The Centre for Africa Studies at our university recently hosted its ANC Centenary Dialogue at the Bloemfontein Campus. Keynote speaker, Dr Adekeye Adebajo, delivered a paper titled Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and the ANC’s Footprint in Africa. The lecture focused on two of South Africa’s democratically-elected presidents.

Mr Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically-elected president. This Nobel Peace Laureate played a prophetic leadership role in Africa in 1993. He was inspired by Mr Mahatma Gandhi’s tactics of ‘passive resistance’, which played a role in the ANC’s Defiance Campaign.
 
Mr Mandela’s visit to other African countries gave him insights into continental diplomacy and the tactics of other liberation movements. “The ANC used Madiba to embody the face of the struggle. He emerged from prison without any bitterness towards his enemies. He tirelessly promoted national reconciliation,” said Dr Adebajo.
 
Unlike other post-independence ‘Founding Fathers’, Mr Mandela bowed out gracefully at the end of his first presidential term in 1999, setting a standard for future African leaders aspiring to greatness. “Mr Mandela’s lasting legacies are his efforts at promoting national and international peacemaking,” elaborated Dr Adebajo.
 
Mr Thabo Mbeki challenged Africans to discover a sense of their own self-confidence after centuries of slavery and colonialism. Under his foreign policy, South Africa established solid credentials to become Africa’s leading power. He sought multilateral solutions to resolve regional conflicts. Mr Mbeki also sent peacekeepers abroad and increased South Africa’s credibility as a major geostrategic player in Africa.
 
Many question whether Mr Mbeki’s heirs, President Jacob Zuma and beyond, will maintain the same level of commitment to the continent that he demonstrated. Mr Mbeki has bequeathed this foreign policy legacy to his successors. “These very different ANC leaders have left a heavy African footprint on the sands of time,” concluded Dr Adebajo.

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