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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

Bloemfontein’s Visser brothers to wow hometown fans
2013-03-27

 

From left: Vincent Visser, Gareth Cliff and Vicus Visser
Photo: Supplied
27 March 2013

South Africa’s YouTube singing sensation, Vicus Visser, will wow Bloemfonteiners on 18 April 2013 with a musical performance at the University of the Free State.

He and his talented brother Vincent will perform at the Wynand Mouton Theatre giving their hometown fans a taste of their recent performances in the United States. Vicus, who has been dubbed Bloemfontein’s Justin Bieber, performed overseas for the first time in February this year when he and his brother performed at events for Black History Month in Washington DC and New York. One of their performances was at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC where they paid tribute to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Vicus rose to fame in 2010 when a music clip of him as a ten year old boy, singing “These Arms” by All for One, appeared on the internet. After a massive seven-year search on social media channels by local and international record companies, he was tracked down to Heidedal in Bloemfontein. Vicus and Vincent moved to Johannesburg in 2012 where they were managed and mentored by Gareth Cliff, top radio presenter and judge on Idols South Africa.

Gareth will join the Visser brothers in Bloemfontein on 18 April and will be master of ceremonies at the concert titled Singing the Dream for South Africa - The Kennedy Centre Performance. As with their performance in the United States, the brothers will treat the hometown crowd to a selection of songs in English, Zulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans.

Vicus, Vincent and Gareth will also make special appearances at the two graduation ceremonies hosted at 09:30 and 14:30 on 18 April 2013. Gareth will be guest speaker and the two brothers will give a short performance. They will also have a meet and greet session with students at the Thakaneng Bridge at 11:45.

Tickets for the Singing the Dream for South Africa - The Kennedy Centre Performance cost R 20 and are available at Room 5, Thakaneng Bridge. The show starts at 19:30.

For more information contact Nicoleen Snyman at snymann@ufs.ac.za or 051 401 9598 / 051 401 9102.


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