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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

Water Awareness Day on campus
2013-03-19

 

The UFS is hosting a Water Awareness Day at the Bloemfontein Campus to observe National Water Week.
Photo: Renè-Jean van der Berg
19 March 2013

With water being considered as a threatened resource in the world, the Health and Wellness Centre and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with Provincial Government and private stakeholders, hosted a Water Extravaganza at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The UFS has a Strategic Academic Cluster: Water management in water-scarce areas, which has a number of participating academics and postgraduate students who are all looking to combat the problems associated with water, the threatened resource, in South Africa.

Prof Maitland Seaman, Director of the cluster for Water management in water-scarce areas, says South Africans should remember that, when and where there is water, you only have temporary use of it.

He also warns that water needs to work, otherwise it will become useless.

“If water is to work, we must conserve the natural ecosystems that purify it and make it available for further use; we must use it judiciously and optimally (for agriculture, industry and domestic use); and we should not pollute our water sources.”

Prof Seaman will deliver a presentation on the Modder River as the life blood of Bloemfontein at the Water Extravaganza. Other presentations will be on fracking, water-related disasters and the water situation in Mangaung. 

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