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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

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visiting the UFS once again
2012-07-13

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
13 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) will once again be honoured by the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Wednesday 18 July 2012.

Dr Tutu will be speaking at our Bloemfontein Campus for the first session of a two-day “In Conversation With …”event that is part of the Global Leadership Summit currently being held on the campus.

This sessions starts at 09:30 at the Centenary Complex. The media is invited to attend this session.

Dr Tutu will be in dialogue with Prof. Mark Solms, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town and owner of the Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

The theme for this conversation, facilitated by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, will be “Living Reconciliation: Winds of Change in Franschhoek and Transformation at Solms-Delta Wine Estate”. This is based on the transformation introduced by Solms on his farm in the Franschhoek Valley.

Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela is a Senior Research Professor on trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation at the UFS.

As owner of Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek, Prof. Solms led an initiative to transform the lives of farm workers on the estate through the Wijn de Caab Trust. This initiative was extended to empower the wider community of farm dwellers when Prof. Solms co-founded the Delta Trust and the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter. This organisation aims to break trans-generational cycles of social division and inequality in the valley.

The dialogue with Dr Tutu will highlight the significance of these initiatives as examples of deepening the link between socially responsive scholarship, commitment to social justice and responsible citizenship in contemporary South Africa.

Last year, the UFS awarded Dr Tutu an honorary doctorate in Theology, marking a milestone in the history of the university.

At 12:30, Dr Tutu will visit the Red Square in front of the UFS Main Building, where he will join in the fundraising festivities for the university’s official Nelson Mandela Day event and deliver a short address.

Schools in the vicinity, UFS staff and students and the public are invited to take part in the R5 coin laying ceremony in front of the Main Building.

The money collected at this event will be used to benefit the No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign as well as Bloemfontein Child Welfare.
 

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