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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

“We require minds such as yours”
2013-04-19

 

Gareth Cliff addressed graduates during the UFS Autumn Graduation Ceremony.
Photo: Lelanie de Wet
18 April 2013

Well-known radio personality and Idols South Africa judge, Gareth Cliff addressed graduates on the third day of the University of the Free State (UFS) Autumn Graduation Ceremony.

“It’s a good time be alive, a good time to be a South African, a good time to be a qualified South African,” Gareth said during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

He emphasised the importance of skills in science in South Africa nowadays. “The only way we can advance is through an education of our minds, through technology, through science, through maths. It’s a time in our country’s development that we require minds such as yours to propel us forward.”

Gareth also underlined the freedom of speech in South Africa, especially in the light of media freedom. “It is something I feel strongly about, something this generation takes for granted.”

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the university, reinforced Gareth’s message and said that graduates need to be able to take standpoint against issues.

Learners from schools in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo also had the opportunity to attend the ceremony.

The Autumn Graduation Ceremony takes place until Friday 19 April 2013. Attached is the programme for this ceremony.

Friday 19 April 2013

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: all diplomas and degrees in the Faculty, except BCom and BComHons.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: only BCom and BComHons.

The Qwaqwa Campus’ graduation ceremony will take place on 8 June 2013. Diplomas / certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded at this ceremony.

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