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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

Kovsies goes green
2012-08-22

The university will soon be hosting its first Green Festival that will focus on protecting and sustaining natural resources for current and future generations.

The aim of this festival is to demonstrate to students, learners and the broader community that any act, no matter how small, makes a difference and that each individual must play his or her role in creating a sustainable environment and caring for the earth.

Busi Madikizela, SRC member: Student Development and Environmental Affairs, said, “We have a moral obligation to do this as it not only teaches our students about sustainable living, but also sets an example for the communities that the university forms part of and serves.”

The festival takes place on Saturday, 8 September 2012 and will be filled with fun and games.

The university has invited Grade 9 to 11 learners from 41 schools around Bloemfontein to participate in cleaning up the city. The learners and Kovsie students will clean the streets around the Bloemfontein campus. The clean-up teams will meet on the campus in the vicinity of Mooimeisiesfontein, whereafter the rubbish collected will be sorted and taken to the Rat Race recycling company.

Other activities for the day include a Green Quiz that will help educate learners and students about green issues. Coca Cola will sponsor the prizes for the festival, as well as the food and drinks for all the learners invited to the festival. The learners will visits 20 stalls and exhibitions of sustainable green materials and organic food on the Red Square. Documentary movies with green themes on environmental issues will be screened.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, has urged everyone to participate in the Green Festival.

For more information contact Busi at 072 485 6796 or 051 401 9101.

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