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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

Our democracy is not in a good condition
2013-03-28

 

Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation and Prof Andre Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice during the live broadcast of the NRF lecture.
Photo: Supplied
28 March 2013

“Our democracy is not in a good condition.”

Those were the words of Prof Andre Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS), on the eve of Human Rights Day on 21 March 2013.

Prof Keet participated in a lecture series of the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Science for Society series, which was broadcasted directly on SAfm from the UFS.

The topic for the lecture was racial reconciliation and social cohesion in the context of racial inequality.

“South Africa is the most unequal society in the world. According to the latest census results, there are still major inequalities in the distribution of wealth, with the average income of black South Africans one sixth that of white South Africans.”

Prof Keet said that reconciliation and social cohesion is not possible while major racial inequalities still exist.

He asked the question: “If reconciliation is merely linked to an apology and forgiveness, is it possible to reach reconciliation which can change social structures and practices?”

Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, also participated in the lecture.

Click on the link to listen to the full broadcast. http://iono.fm/go/safm

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