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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

New Albert Wessels Auditorium officially unveiled
2013-05-19

 

Dr Johan van Zyl (President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota South Africa and CEO for Toyota Africa) and Judge Ian van der Merwe (Chairperson of the UFS Council) unveil the redesigned Albert Wessels Auditorium.
Photo: Johan Roux
20 May 2013

The swanky new interior and entrance of the Albert Wessels Auditorium WA) were officially unveiled on Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) on Friday 10 May 2013.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council, presided over the AWA unveiling ceremony. They were joined by a special guest, whose company has a long affiliation with the UFS and the AWA in particular.

Dr Johan van Zyl, the current President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota South Africa and CEO for Toyota Africa, unveiled the commemorative plaque at the new entrance. Dr Van Zyl reaffirmed the relationship between Toyota South Africa and the UFS, which can be traced back to the founder of his company.

The namesake of the AWO was the founder of Toyota South Africa. Dr Wessels was at one time married to Elizabeth Eybers, the acclaimed poet who won the Hertzog Prize in 1934 and 1971. Could she have inspired Wessels’ love of the arts? Regardless, the AWA will serve as a world-class facility for the arts, corporate meetings and seminars, from now on. The AWA can now seat 196 people on its luxurious red leather seats.

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