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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

UFS celebrates World Book and Copyright Day
2013-04-23

 

Celebrating World Book and Copyright Day were left: Betsy Eister (Director of the UFS Library and Information Services), Senovia Welman (librarian at the UFS Sasol Library) and Prof Charles Dumas (visiting senior professor in the Department: Drama and Theatre Arts).
Photo: 
Linda Fekisi
23 April 2013

 The UFS Library and Information Services (UFS LIS) joined the world of literature on 23 April 2013 in celebrating World Book and Copyright Day. Kovsie staff and students were treated to a display of literary works by South African and international authors in the Sasol Library on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The theme chosen for 2013 was, “In Books I Find …,” and the display featured pictures of members of the senior leadership with their favourite books. The theme is endorsed by the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA).

Marcus Maphile, Assistant Director of the UFS LIS, says the purpose of this day is to instill a culture of reading and to highlight important copyright issues. “Libraries regard books and reading as central to nation-building and as tools to stretch the imagination of young South Africans, in particular. This day aims to challenge young people to think outside the box about what can be found in books, beyond words and illustrations.”

Prof Charles Dumas, visiting senior professor in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts, was the guest speaker at the event and read from Stephen Clingman’s book, titled Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary, during his address.

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