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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

Moeletsi Mbeki discusses South Africa’s political economy
2012-08-17

At the guest lecture was, from the left: Johann Rossouw, lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Mr. Moeletsi Mbeki, and Prof. Pieter Duvenage, Head of the Department of Philosophy.
Photo: Johan Roux
17 August 2012

South Africa’s ongoing problems do not have their origin in the apartheid dispensation but in the British colonial period. This is according to the well known businessman and political analyst, Mr Moeletsi Mbeki, who was speaking during a guest lecture at the University of the Free State.

Mr Mbeki said the high unemployment rate among Blacks arose from the destruction of the Black small farming class in the last third of the 19th century to provide cheap labour to the developing mining sector. He said the notorious Land Act of 1913 was not the root of Black people’s loss of land but merely the legal formalisation thereof. Mr Mbeki emphasised that as long as it was argued that South Africa’s problems arose during the apartheid dispensation, problems would remain unsolved.

Regarding South Africa’s future, Mr Mbeki argued that three issues in particular were important – South Africa’s industrialisation, which ground to a halt in the 1970s, should be revived; the large scale training of industrialists with special emphasis on mathematics, science and the broader education system; and post-nationalist politics, of which parties such as Zimbabwe’s MDC, Zambia’s MMF and Mauritius’s MMM were outstanding examples.

The guest lecture was presented by the Department of Philosophy. More than 200 people attended the lecture and participated enthusiastically in the question and answer session. Afterwards, Mr Mbeki said he was impressed with the high level of the questions asked by students, which he said gave him hope for South Africa’s future.

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