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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

Vice-Chancellor to receive prestigious lifetime achievement award in the United States
2013-05-23

23 May 2013

 - Acceptance Speech

The University of the Free State (UFS) is proud to announce that yet another major international award will be bestowed on the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

On 3 June 2013 the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa will be added to the multiple international and local achievements and awards Prof Jansen has received over the past months.

He will receive the award at a gala dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, United States. The glamorous event is hosted in collaboration between Education Africa and Brand South Africa. Prof Jansen will join an illustrious list of recipients, including Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Richard Branson and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

“I am deeply humbled by this award which I dedicate to the great teachers of our country, who under difficult conditions make our schools work for children of the poor; they are the real heroes of education," says Prof Jansen.

The Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa is a highly regarded recognition on the world stage, awarded to individuals who focus the attention of the global community on the obstacles some of the poorest African nations face.

“He is a pioneering South African educator who is successfully transforming what was once a bastion of apartheid-era segregation and ideology into one of his country’s most inclusive and dynamic institutions of higher learning,” the organisers said in a statement.

As an extra honour to the UFS, one of its Council Members will also receive an award together with Prof Jansen at the ceremony in New York City next month. Ndaba Ntsele, also the Executive Chairman of Pamodzi Gold Limited and President of the South African Black Business Council, will receive the Education Africa Allegiance Award. This award is given to persons for their ‘steadfast support of the organisation [Education Africa] over many years.”

Prof Jansen’s other recent international awards and honours include the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance from the University of California in the US and membership of the Laureate Chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honour Society in Education.

For more information on these as well as the other awards Prof Jansen has recently received, click here.

 

 

 

 

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