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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

Making a difference is the most important thing for Gary Kirsten
2012-05-16

 

Gary Kirsten
16 May 2012

“Can I make a difference in someone’s life?” This was the central driving force for Gary Kirsten, head coach of the 2011 World Cup winning Indian cricket team. He currently coaches the Proteas.

Gary was the first guest speaker at a new series of lectures at our Business School. Challenges and solutions in management will be highlighted in the series. In his lecture, Gary was interviewed by Prof. Johann Coetzee, Extraordinary Professor at the Business School. The audience got a glimpse of the person often seen on television screens and they travelled with him from his childhood days at the Newlands Cricket Ground to his days in New Delhi as head coach of the Indian team.

His challenge in India was to develop a new culture in a team with very valuable and expensive brands. His light-bulb moment occurred on a team-building visit to Australia. His question to the team was what he could do for them and what they would expect from him. The turning point was Sachin Tendulkar’s answer: I would like you to be my friend. Tendulkar’s wife’s comment on the winning night was the proof of his success. She said: “The last three years were the happiest in my husband’s life.”

Gary said it was an incredible privilege to make a difference in people’s lives. “I wake up asking myself where I can make a difference in someone’s life. You must create an environment for people to enjoy the game, challenge one another and thrive.”

He is confident that the Protea team has the potential to be a great cricket team. He said the upcoming England tour is a test. “This tour will test us to be the top team in the following years. I would like to set them up for the best chance to win.”

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