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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

Provisional registration period extended to 30 April 2012
2012-03-25

25 March 2012

After a week of intense negotiations between the senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses, the SRC has managed to persuade the senior leadership to extend the provisional registration period to Monday 30 April 2012.

This means that, until 30 April 2012, no students will be deregistered for not being able to pay their provisional registration fee. The initial deadline for students to register provisionally was 6 April 2012.

The SRC requested the extension of provisional registration and the senior leadership of the UFS agreed thereto for the following reasons:

  • To allow students more time to raise the money;
  • To allow the provincial and national government, as well as NSFAS more time to respond to students’ financial needs; and
  • To allow the SRC and the university more time to consult with students with strong academic records about financial aid options outside the university.

“The SRC is glad to note that the university management values our efforts in representing our students and we've been able to leverage that advantage to negotiate an extension of the deregistration date with management. We're happy that in this case management has responded to the appeal of students through the SRC and we're exceptionally proud of our ability to push student interests to unprecedented heights,” says Mr Richard Chemaly, SRC President of the Bloemfontein Campus.

According to Mr Chemaly, the SRC is confident in their negotiation abilities. “While others might strike and protest, it is in the best interests of our students to talk to the senior leadership about important issues that are in the interests of students,” he says.

“Since our request to extend the provisional registration period was approved by the university management, the SRC has been working tirelessly to ensure that no deserving student gets deregistered. This includes setting up external funds, approaching the Premier’s office for assistance and setting up the most extensive bursary database any SRC has ever had,” Mr Chemaly says.

If there are any parents or students in need of help for provisional registration, please contact Mr Chemaly at  chemalyra@ufs.ac.za.
 

Media Release
25 March 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

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