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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

Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for Kovsie student
2011-10-25

 

Jaco Griessel, our Mandela Rhodes Scholarship winner
Photo: Hannes Pieterse

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation has honoured Kovsie student Jaco Griessel with a prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for 2012. This student from the Odeion School of Music is one of 23 students on the continent to receive the prestigious award this year. The scholarship is awarded to young Africans who demonstrate academic and leadership potential.

Griessel, who is currently busy with his B.Mus honours degree, is an achiever of note with many accomplishments to his name. In 2010 Griessel won the Fanie Beetge Prize for best undergraduate student in systematic music studies. A year before that he received the same prize for best undergraduate student in historical music studies. The 25-year old Griessel will continue his studies at our university next year with a master’s degree, specialising in music composition. The Kovsie student says his dream is to compose music one day. He writes anything from classical, light to jazz music.

With the scholarship, Griessel gets access to leadership development programmes and an opportunity to interact with a diverse group of fellow scholars spanning the continent and academic disciplines. The scholarship further provides for study and registration costs, study material, accommodation and a personal allowance.

Message from Sannah Mokone (One of two UFS Rhodes Scholars)
Dear Prof Jansen, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you and the UFS on Jaco Griessel's reception of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, wow!!! What a fantastic opportunity!

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