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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

ANC Centenary Seminars resume on the Bloemfontein Campus
2012-03-12

12 March 2012

In 2011, as a run-up to the African National Congress (ANC) Centenary Celebrations, the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a series of dialogues about the ANC to encourage debate and academic discourse.

The series of dialogues resumes this year as the party continues to celebrate 100 years of existence.

The first of three ANC Centenary Seminars for 2012 will start on Wednesday 14 March 2012 on the Bloemfontein Campus. The first seminar is dedicated to the Women’s League and Prof. Shireen Hassim, a professor in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, is the guest speaker. She will speak on the topic “Rethinking Gender: The ANC and Feminism in the 20th century”.

Prof. Hassim has published widely in the areas of social justice, social policy and gender as well as on representative politics. She is the author of Women’s organizations and democracy in South Africa: Contesting authority (2006). She was awarded the Victoria Shuck Award for best book on women and politics by the American Political Science Association in 2007. She is also co-editor of several books, most recently Go home or die here: Xenophobia, violence and the reinvention of difference in South Africa.

  • Venue: Odeion
  • Time: 18:00

 

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