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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

Open Day attracts thousands
2012-05-02

 

Campus was abuzz with prospective students and their parents finding out what Kovsies has to offer.
Photo: Kaleidoscope Studios
1 May 2012

“It is easier to pass Grade 12 today because we don’t have a standard. However, at the University of the Free State, standards are important.”

This was Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS’ message when he addressed a packed Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus during this year’s Open Day.

“This university is the jewel of the country. Here at Kovsies we take academic standards seriously. You must know who you are in a place where academic standards are extremely important. Anyone can obtain a degree, but here you can get more than a degree. You get an education,” he said to the more than 5 000 learners and parents from across the country.

“It is not only important that you study here in South Africa, but also in other countries. That is why our students study all over the world. You must think out of your comfort zone, have a big heart, achieve great heights and show everyone that you are a Kovsie.

But, it is not all about studying – it is also about being human and reaching out to others. When you come to this university, you will also do other things that will make you proud of being a Kovsie.

Quality looks for quality. Therefore, work hard and study hard because you need to be at a good university,” he said.

The programme consisted of, among others, a spectacular laser show, a performance by Bobby van Jaarsveld and special messages from DW Bester and Sannah Mokone, Rhodes Scholars currently studying at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

In a pre-recorded message DW, a Ph.D. student in Mathematical Statistics, encouraged prospective students to work hard and persevere. Sannah, doing a Master’s degree in African Studies, said she believes in the future of the African continent. “I believe in our future students and know you can make it.”

Prof. Jansen also introduced some of the university’s recent student achievers such as Jurie Swart, regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award; Farzana Samuel, named by the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) as the most outstanding student in quantity surveying for 2012; and Sibusiso Tshabalala, one of Google’s Top 10 Young Minds.

Richard Chemaly, President of the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC), said that, by coming to Kovsies, prospective students would become the best person they can be. “We have over 70 student organisations to help you take part in student life activities. So, make use of these opportunities,” he said.

The programme concluded with an introduction to the seven faculties by the respective deans.

The estimated 7 000 prospective students and their parents also had the opportunity to visit faculties and the stalls of residences.
 

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