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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

Always good to be honoured at home, says Justice Richard Goldstone
2012-02-06

 

Justice Richard Goldstone received an honorary doctorate from the university on 3 February 2012.
Photo: Duard Grobbelaar

 

Dumela article (pdf document)
Justice Richard Goldstone's - acceptance speech (pdf document)
Mail & Guardian article (pdf document)

The University of the Free State (UFS) is determined to make a success of its academic and human projects, and is not prepared to compromise on standards in the process.

This was the message of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, at our universities official opening on Friday 3 February 2012. These projects, said Prof. Jansen, are the foundation of the institution.

The official opening coincided with an honorary doctorate in Law conferred on Justice Richard Goldstone.

The UFS has enrolled the “smartest and most diverse class since 1904,” Prof. Jansen said.
Top learners with six A’s, and more learners from top schools inside and outside South Africa, have made the UFS their university of choice. “We are determined that the best students must study at Kovsies.”

Prof. Jansen also referred to learners in the school system who sit and wait while teachers fight amongst themselves at the education departments. “What are we going to do with those students?” The UFS provides an opportunity for these students to enter higher education with its University Preparation Programme on its South Campus in Bloemfontein. “The fastest growth at our university is on this campus. It is set aside for children who cannot be taken up in the mainstream.”

Some of the students who were part of this programme are doctors, lawyers and teachers today.

“We set a high standard in our academic project to make sure our students are the best available.”

In its Schools Project, the UFS has 23 schools under its wing and the net is broadening. Pass rates in these schools improved dramatically; in some from 13% to 100% in one year.

The human project sets standards for good behaviour. “I was astounded to see how young people get together to find other people as human beings,” Jansen said. “I have enormous hope for this country.

Some of the other projects he mentioned were the provision of more space for students to study, a refocus on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State, the placement of new academics, and agreements with universities abroad on the placement of young scholars.

After receiving his honorary doctorate, Justice Goldstone congratulated the university on the fact that transformation did not lead to standards being compromised.

“The university now takes its place as a leading university on our continent. The leaders of the university can hold their heads up high about their achievements.”

Judge Goldstone, the bearer of 26 honorary doctorates from various countries around the world, said: “It is always good to be honored at home”.

The official opening was attended by staff, students, guests and community leaders.
 
 

Media Release
3 February 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
 

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