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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

Limpopo government department receives Sign Language qualification


At the certificate ceremony were, from the left: Wisani Mashamba, Deputy Manager: Human Resources and Development in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in Limpopo; Dr Philemon Akach, Head of the Department of South African Sign Language; Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic; and Ms Fhumulani Maguga, Senior Manager: Human Resources and Development in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in Limpopo.
Photo: Stephen Collett
25 April 2012

Certificates were awarded to a group of staff members from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in Limpopo who successfully completed a short course in South African Sign Language at the University of the Free State (UFS). Fourteen staff members from this department received their certificates at a ceremony on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic, said the UFS was the first tertiary institution in the country, and in Africa, to present Sign Language as an academic course. Prof. Hay urged the 14 men and women who received their certificates to use the qualification to make a difference in the lives of others.

Dr Philemon Akach, Head of the Department of South African Sign Language, mentioned the difficulties that deaf people still have to cope with. “Poverty and neglect is rife. In this country you have to toyi-toyi to be heard. If deaf people toyi-toyi, will they be heard?”

Ms Fhumulani Maguga, Senior Manager: Human Resources and Development in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in Limpopo, said her department is looking into future partnerships with the UFS.

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