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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

Together we can make a greener planet
2012-03-02

 

Students are rewarded for their efforts with waste recycling and energy saving on campus.
Seen here is Molete Lerothodi of Kyalami Residence, winner of the recycling and energy saving competition, together with Boipelo Malope, Ms Green South Africa.
2 March 2012
Photo: Johan Roux


Sustainability, to live green, energy saving – call it what you like. This was the focus of the Clean Campus campaign that students on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State introduced last year. Apart from it being an opportunity to reward students for their hard work, experts on campus also got the chance to share interesting information with onlookers.

An interesting fact to chew on is that the UFS’s electricity account is to increase by an estimated R38 million rand - from R19 million in 2008 to R57 million in 2012. Another interesting morsel - the university generates 20 tons of waste a day.

Although the university will implement a waste management plan in the near future, experts agree: save water, save electricity and do not squander our precious energy resources.

Madelief Residence was crowned the winner of the Clean Campus campaign. The residence’s reward – a cheque of R1 500. Kestell was second and won a gas braaier.

The competition will be the project of the SRC: Student Development and Environmental Affairs in future.

In the recycling and energy saving competition, which attracted entries from 18 of the 23 residences, Kyalami was placed first, Roosmaryn second and Akasia third.
 

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