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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

Construction work on new residences begins
2012-02-24

 

From left are: Richard Chemaly, SRC President; Mr Quintin Koetaan; Prof. Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations and Mr Pura Mgolombane, Assistant Dean: Student Affairs, at the sod turning ceremony.    
Photo: Johan Roux  
24 February 2012

Construction of two new residences on our Bloemfontein Campus will begin soon. Some 500 students will be accommodated in the residences, with the first students able to move in from January 2013.   

The premises where the residences will be built were recently handed over to the contractors.

Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, says that the design of the residences follow global trends in student accommodation, but are adapted to local needs and student communities. The new residences will provide more study and tutoring spaces, also with more open space for diverse students to socialise. The residences will function together as a Student Life College.

Mr Quintin Koetaan, Director: Housing and Residence Affairs, says the new residences will house both junior and senior students. Residences will co-ed, with men and women housed in separate and secure passages.
 
The planned construction of student accommodation includes five new residences – four on the Bloemfontein Campus that will provide 1000 beds and one on the Qwaqwa Campus with 250 beds. This will provide for the increasing need for student accommodation. The project will be completed in two phases. Phase one commenced in Bloemfontein on 21 February 2012.


 

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