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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

Former Kovsie wins Absa L’Atelier
2012-07-27

Elrie Joubert
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
24 July 2012

A former Kovsie has taken top honours at the Absa L’Atelier Art Competition.

Elrie Joubert, who completed her master’s degree at the Department of Fine Arts in 2010, is the first Free Stater who has won the competition for young artists between 21 and 35. This puts her in the company of previous winners such as Penny Siopis and Diane Victor. As the overall winner, Joubert receives a cash prize of R110 000 and a six month stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France.

Her winning entry, Selective Unveiling, consists of a light-table with a private collection of miniature natural objects, a digital microscope used by the viewer to inspect the objects, as well as a projector that projects the microscope’s image directly on a screen.

“By making my private collection public, I expose myself to possible investigation and criticism,” says Joubert about her winning entry. “The process is, however, reversed when the viewer is also robbed of his/her ‘privacy’ in collecting images with the microscope, which are projected on a screen for other viewers to see.”

Joubert, who lectures in Drawing and History of Art of Graphic Design at the Midrand Graduate Institute’s Bloemfontein Campus, says the Absa L’Atelier is the biggest competition she has won thus far. In 2007 and 2010 she reached the final rounds of the SASOL New Signatures Art Competition.

Her advice to art students: “Keep on doing what you do, learn to handle criticism selectively, and above all, if you take no risks you’ll never win.”


 

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