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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

Mandela Day celebrated with R5 coin laying
2012-07-09

On 18 July 2012, the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with Pick n Pay Hyper in Bloemfontein, will celebrate Nelson Mandela Day with a special R5 coin laying ceremony.

The festivities kick off at 12:00 on the Red Square at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu will make a special appearance at this event and also deliver a short message.

Schools in the vicinity, UFS staff and students and the public are invited to take part in the coin laying ceremony.

Ms Marissa van Jaarsveld, the coordinator of the Nelson Mandela Day celebrations at the UFS, says the money collected at the event will be used to benefit the No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign, as well as Bloemfontein Child Welfare. NSH is an organisation on the Bloemfontein Campus that provides food bursaries to hungry students with good academic records.

Requests have been sent to schools to collect R5 coins for the event and representatives from the schools will attend the coin-laying.

These schools will be acknowledged for their contributions and there are prizes up for grabs for the primary and high schools that collect the most money.

Learners will deposit their coin contributions during the 67 Minute programme of giving back to the community and they will take part in fun activities. Participating schools are encouraged to be as creative as possible when handing over their R5 contributions.

On the day, there will also will be people with tins at the main entrances to the university for those who want to make a contribution.

The NSH-campaign will also show its support for eradicating world hunger on this day by helping Pick n Pay Hyper in Bloemfontein to package food parcels for the Stop Hunger Now campaign. The packaging of the food parcels will also take place at the UFS.

Members of the public and the media are invited to attend the festivities.
 

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