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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

Samantha excels as Dux student
2011-10-26

 

Samantha Renda-Dollman with Dr Choice Makhetha, the sponsor of the DUX Award trophy and Vice-Rector: External Affairs. Sharing the moment with them is Prof. Willie van Zyl, Assistant Campus Principal: Academic.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

Samantha Renda-Dollman, a BSc (Zoology) student at our Qwaqwa Campus has obtained 19 distinctions out of the 22 modules she has written since 2009.

This was revealed during the 2011 Annual Student Affairs Excellence Awards that were held at the Qwaqwa Campus to honour academic, sport and cultural excellence. Her hard work earned Samantha the prestigious Dux student award, which makes her the best overall academic performer of the entire student body at this campus of the UFS. This award was presented to her by its sponsor, Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Affairs, herself a former Dux student.
 
Considering her achievements to date, Samantha agrees with the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who believed that  ”we are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” According to Samantha, one of her biggest achievements was winning a national poetry competition in 2000 whilst she was still at a primary school.
 
“I am happy to be the 2011 Dux student, as it proves that hard work indeed pays. If you commit yourself to working hard all the time and do lots of studying, then achievements like this will come your way,” she said.
 
Samantha’s immediate plan is to finish her degree and then venture into studying for an honours degree in entomology. “I would like to do my bit in the academic world. That’s where I think my future lies,” she concluded.
 
Samantha also received the award for the best-performing second-year student in the Faculty of Agricultural and Natural Sciences.

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