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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

Qwaqwa Campus welcomes new Head
2013-04-17

 

Prof Prakash Naidoo
Photo:Thabo Kessah
17 April 2013


   Welcoming video

The Qwaqwa Campus welcomed its new Head in the person of Prof Prakash Naidoo. Prof Naidoo, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Finance (Resources and Planning) at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), received a very warm welcome from the staff, students and the Eastern Free State community.

In response to his welcoming, Prof Naidoo thanked among others, his predecessor, Dr Elias Malete, for his leadership of the campus, as well as the Head: Operations, Teboho Manchu and the Head: Academic, Dr Elsa Crause, for their support during his first few days on campus.

“I am elated to be joining an institution that is serious about transformation. There is still a lot of work ahead to make this campus the best,” said Prof Naidoo.

“Positive vibrancy exists here and all of us must begin to think about how we can multiply the effect to make it even better.”

“This year the campus is celebrating its tenth year in existence as part of the University of the Free State and we have accomplished much in this time. However, there is still a lot to accomplish in the next 10 years. We need progressive change. Let us all look ahead, but let us never forget the past.”

“Today’s students live with greater complexities, like watching too much TV and reading less. They need more counselling and guidance. In my book, students come first. Academic business comes first.”

Prof Naidoo expressed his optimism in working with all internal and external stakeholders.

“I am a team player and we must all develop a working plan for this campus,” Prof Naidoo said.

The welcoming was attended by members of the Council and the Rectorate.

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