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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

Esteemed international Council advises the UFS
2013-03-26

 

In front, from the left are: Prof Alice Pell, Vice-Provost for International Relations, Cornell University in the USA; Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS; Ms Jane Evans, Director of Ntataise Early Child Development Network Support Programme in South Africa; Mr Gert Grobler, Ambassador of South Africa to Madagascar and alumnus of the UFS. At the back, from the left are: Prof Joel Samoff, Professor in African Studies, Stanford University in the USA; Prof Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs of the UFS; Prof Masafumi Nagao, Project Professor at the Graduate School for Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo; and Prof Akilagpa Sawyerr, former Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana. Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, was absent when the photo was taken.
Photo: Sonia Small
27 March 2013

The International Advisory Council (IAC) of the University of the Free State (UFS) is visiting the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses this week as part of its biennial meeting with the university leadership. The Council, consisting of seven leading academics, business leaders and policy makers, are advising the leadership on how well we perform against international benchmarks in research, teaching, service and transformation. The Council also acts as advocates for the university in their own spheres of influence.


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