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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

Missing UFS student found
2013-04-01

 

Thabiso Moholoholo
Photo: Supplied

10 April 2013

The whereabouts of University of the Free State (UFS) student Thabiso Moholoholo have been determined. He was found to be in Qwaqwa by the South African Police Service (SAPS) who used cell phone tracking to locate the 'missing' student.

Thabiso 'disappeared' on 9 October 2012 from the Bloemfontein Campus allegedly on his way to the UFS Sasol Library. He was a second-year student doing the BSc Environmental Studies programme, and was a resident in Tswelopele Residence on the Bloemfontein Campus at the time of his disappearance.

The university’s Protection Services, with the assistance of the SAPS, went to great lengths to search for him up until he was found. The investigative work of well-known private investigator Leon Rossouw also assisted greatly in the case.

Shortly after his disappearance a message indicating that he was dead and photos of him lying face-down, covered in what seemed to be blood were posted on his Facebook page. This was followed with a similar SMS message to a friend.

It has now been discovered that Thabiso disappeared on his own initiative and that he made up the violent photos for his Facebook page with the help of a friend.

The senior leadership of the university and residence leadership of Tswelopele are obviously relieved that he was found and thank everyone who worked tirelessly to locate the student.

The university has spent considerable time and extended its limited financial and human resources all in an effort to find this so-called missing student; his conduct is completely unacceptable. The stress on the family, fellow students and the university community as a whole is incalculable.

The university therefore views this staged disappearance in a grave light and considers this act to constitute very serious student misconduct, which could result in disciplinary action and possible expulsion.

 
Media Release
10 April 2013
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

 

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