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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

‘Leadership is formed through ethical behaviour’
2012-08-20

Mr Edward Kieswetter
20 August 2012

“Being ethical is not about what we can do, it is about what we ought to do.” This is according to Mr Edward Kieswetter, Group Executive of Alexander Forbes Limited. During his lecture to MBA students in the Business School, Mr Kieswetter allowed the audience to engage in a discussion about ethics and leadership in the business world. Mr Kieswetter is also Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council.

Part of the lecture was discussing South Africa as a country that was not born in ethics. Mr Kieswetter commented that although context was is very important in making decisions, South African people tended to, for example, and “feed on corruption, instead of acting actively against it”. Questions about South Africa’s ethical foundation were raised. Mr Kieswetter explained that one of the greatest challenges with the South Africans was to help them understand that a person always had a choice. “If you have to compromise on your own values, you are not doing anybody justice.”

Ethics can promote common and social goals if they are not determined by what people feel and strive to reach beyond the barriers that religious beliefs put up. He shared of his life’s most valuable lessons learned about people in leadership positions. “A great leader has incredible self-awareness and displays a huge amount of humility.” He said that in life it was not about being perfect; it was rather about being authentic, even in challenging times where the outcome might affect the current situation negatively. “My greatest successes came from lessons I learned in making mistakes and growing from them.

“If you have nothing to die for, then what is there to live for?” Mr Kieswetter said when asked whether he would compromise his financial position if he did not agree with the ethics of the company he worked for. “By constantly complaining instead of progressing, we are giving up our power to change, and that is a scary thing for South Africa as a developing country.” 
 

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