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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

University hosts Mandela Rhodes scholars
2012-10-02

Kovsie Dux student and SRC member Tumelo Moreri (centre), with Danielle Bowler and Unnel-Teddy Ngoumandjoka, two of the Mandela Rhodes Scholars who attended a summit for past and current recipients of the prestigious bursary on the Bloemfontein Campus.
1 October 2012
Photo: Johan Roux

Some of Africa’s top young minds gathered at the University of the Free State to discuss new ways of thinking about education on the continent.

About 50 current and past recipients of the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship from across the continent gathered on the Bloemfontein Campus to attend the Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars Summit from 29 September to 1 October 2012. The theme for the summit was Re-Imagining Education in Africa and recipients from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda attended.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, addressed the Mandela Rhodes scholars and told them as Africa’s next generation of leaders they have to be courageous, caring and agents of change. “You cannot re-imagine education unless you have imaginative leaders”, he told them. Referring to leaders like Martin Luther King, Chief Albert Luthuli, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, Prof. Jansen told them in order to lead, they should have the capacity for caring, contemplation, courage, change,contrition,conciliation and clarity.

Mandela Rhodes Scholar and Convener of the Summit, Andrew Gasnolar, said the insights gained will be utilised by recipients in their spaces. "A consistent element which cropped up was that our privilege requires us to do the right thing. Active citizenry is required in which we all actively take a part in the education situation - from adopting a student to adopting a school to taking up teaching."

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