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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

New SRC constitution for UFS main campus agreed upon by all organisations
2005-07-20

University of the Free State Fact Sheet

1. The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) unanimously approved an amendment to the SRC constitution for the main campus to allow for the introduction of proportional representation (PR) alongside a first-past-the-post electoral system.

2. This decision was taken by the UFS Council on 10 June 2005 at the same meeting where it also approved the establishment of a Central SRC for the three campuses of the UFS.

3. The new main campus SRC constitution is the result of consensus reached during a lengthy negotiation process involving diverse student formations such as Sasco, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League, the ACDP, HEREXVII, KovsieAlliance, as well as the democratically elected SRC members of the main campus. Independent persons such as Mr Jack Klaas and Mr Kobus van Loggerenberg facilitated the negotiation process.

4. The consensus reached during this process, and the subsequent decision by Council, represent a major breakthrough for student governance and transformation of the UFS main campus and constitutes a legitimate basis for the democratic participation of all students at the UFS main campus in the governance of the university.

5. The introduction of the proportional representation system follows earlier calls by some student formations, notably Sasco and the ANC Youth League, for such a system to be introduced at the UFS main campus in Bloemfontein.

6. In terms of the amendments to the main campus SRC constitution, nine of the 18 SRC members are to elected by means of proportional representation and nine on the basis of an direct, first-past-the-post election.

7. The following portfolios of the main campus SRC will be contested by individual candidates on the basis of “first past the post”:
• president
• secretary
• academic affairs
• legal and constitutional affairs
• student development
• arts and culture
• men’s internal liaison
• ladies internal liaison
• media, marketing and liaison

8. The following nine portfolios will be contested by affiliated organizations on a proportional representation basis.
• two vice-presidents
• treasurer
• dialogue and associations
• transformation
• campus affairs and recreation
• sport
• international affairs
• community service

9. These two decisions regarding student governance represent a breakthrough in that, for the first time in many years, all SRC constitutional changes were processed and approved by the June meeting of the Council, well in time for the scheduled August SRC election; in addition, all relevant student organizations have been part of the process and all have accepted the outcome of the process.

20 July 2005
 

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