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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

Prof. Jansen meets the community
2012-05-16

 

Prof. Jansen listens attentively to Mr Teboho Moloi, who represented the Harrismith Business Forum at the community meeting where the UFS vision was shared.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

16 May 2012

We are very proud of our academic achievements, but without the human element, these achievements are not worth anything. This is according to Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, who attended a meeting with the Thabo Mofutsanyana community in the Eastern Free State.

Prof. Jansen made the community aware that the university has two very important and interlinked projects – the academic and human projects.

“Our university has ambitions to produce the best scholars in various fields, but this cannot be done if we neglect the human aspect of doing things in the right way. We want to produce academic giants as much as we want to produce graduates of life,” said Prof. Jansen to an audience that included representatives from the traditional councils, business, religious and farming communities as well as the Maluti-A-Phofung and Dihlabeng Local Municipalities.

Prof. Jansen said that the memorandum of understanding that the university signed with the Dihlabeng Local Municipality in 2010 was already yielding positive results.

“There has been an enormous improvement in the matric results of the Dihlabeng schools that are part of our efforts to contribute towards building a brighter future for our children. We want to thank the municipality and the Honourable Mayor Tjhetane Mofokeng for being part of this partnership,” added Prof. Jansen.
 
“We are grateful that the university is considerate of its stakeholders in developing this Maluti-A-Phofung area. I am also aware that this institution has contributed towards the building of a crèche in the Mabolela village in Qwaqwa and for this we are very happy,” said Ms Linah Mnisi from Motlotlwane Projects and Consultants.
 

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