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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

Central SRC constitution for UFS approved by Council
2005-07-20

University of the Free State Fact Sheet

1. The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) on 10 June 2005 unanimously approved the establishment of a Central Student Representative Council (CSRC)  to constitute a legitimate basis for the democratic participation of students of all three of its campuses in the governance of the university.

2. In a major breakthrough and transformation step for student governance, the Central SRC will include representatives of the main campus in Bloemfontein, the Vista Bloemfontein campus and the Qwaqwa campus of the UFS.

3. The need to establish the Central SRC follows the incorporation of the Qwaqwa campus into the UFS in January 2003 and the incorporation of the Vista campus in Bloemfontein into the UFS in January 2004.

4. The constitution of the Central SRC is the outcome of a consensus reached during a lengthy process of negotiation between the SRCs of the three UFS campuses, indirectly involving diverse student formations such as Sasco, ANCYL, YCL, Pasma, SASO, SADESMO, AZASCO, SCO, HEREXVII, KovsieAlliance, ACDP, etc. Independent constitutional and political experts facilitated key parts of the negotiation process.

5. In this process, the UFS management went out of its way to ensure the participation of all student formations, especially Sasco and the ANC Youth League, as well as the duly elected SRC officials of the three campuses.

6. With the establishment of a Central SRC, the UFS has adopted a federal student governance model whereby the CSRC is the highest representative student body on matters of common concern for all students. The three campuses of the UFS will retain SRC structures for each campus with powers and responsibilities for matters affecting the particular campus.

7. The central SRC will have 12 members made up of delegates of the different campus SRCs, including the presidents of these three SRCs. In total, the main campus will have 5 representatives, the Qwaqwa campus will have 4 representatives and the Vista campus will have 3 representatives. This ratio ensures a strong voice for the smaller campuses in the central SRC.

8. This arrangement will be reviewed after a year to make allowance for the phasing out of undergraduate (pipeline) students at the Vista campus, as was agreed in the negotiations preceding the incorporation of that campus into the UFS.

9. From these 12 members a central SRC president will be chosen on a quarterly basis to represent the general student body at Executive Management, Senate and Council.

10. The historic official inauguration of the first Central SRC is scheduled to take place in early August 2005.

11. This event, like the adoption of a broadly negotiated new constitution for the main campus SRC, represents a  breakthrough in that all three campus SRCs delegations and all relevant student organizations have been part of the process and have accepted the outcome of the process.

20 July 2005

 

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