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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

Open Day engulfs Bloemfontein Campus with colour, crowds and cheer
2013-05-04

 

08 May 2013
Photo: Lelanie de Wet


   Open Day YouTube video

The procession – comprising of Prof Jonathan Jansen and the Deans of all the UFS faculties – stately entered a packed Callie Human Centre on Saturday morning 4 May 2013. As everyone took their seats, all the lights were abruptly cut, leaving the hall in a stunned silence. Suddenly brilliant beams of green, blue and red lights cut through the dark, exploding into a spectacular laser show.

Open Day 2013 on the Bloemfontein Campus was officially under way.

The audience of parents and prospective students were awe-struck by a transfixing electric guitar performance, dancers lit up by LED suits, pulsing music and finally Corneil Muller singing to the accompaniment of Prof Jansen behind the piano.

Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jansen immediately made attendees from across all nine provinces, Namibia, Lesotho and several other countries feel at home and embraced by the university. During his welcoming address, Prof Jansen referred to the fact that Kovsies places the bar high when it comes to achievement. “We expect more of our students,” he said. “Passing is not important, passing wéll is important.” He stressed that at the university we teach students to be decent, to be exceptional people. “We place a high premium on being an outstanding human being.” He went on to say that our students are better than the previous generation – they do not carry the baggage of the old.

Prof Jansen also communicated the university’s commitment to developing leaders with an understanding of the world. This is why the university afford students the opportunity, amongst other things, to study abroad. Students have access to a wide variety of organisations and the privilege to have access to leaders who they can converse with. Kovsies strives to produce leaders, not only in the community, but on a global platform.

To demonstrate this last point, top Kovsie achievers joined Prof Jansen on stage to relay their stories of perseverance, courage and success. Included among these stars, were athlete Danél Prinsloo; Varsity Cup Player that Rocks 2013 Oupa Mohoje; DW Bester, a Rhodes Scholar currently studying at Oxford University in the United Kingdom; and Jurie Swart, who ranked under the top five in the 2012 International Graduate Architecture Student Design competition.

The residences pulled out all stops when it came to the presentation of their individual stalls. The gardens in front of the Main Building burst with colour, sound, dancing and laughter as the residences competed to draw the most visitors. The faculties also opened their doors for a glimpse at the exciting opportunities awaiting prospective students.

A record amount of visitors went home with the words of Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, inscribed in their minds summing up what the UFS is all about: “Where a sense of community matters more than the colour of your skin.”

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