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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

Marikana and its subsequent economic and political consequences
2013-05-30

 

Dawie Roodt and Prof Adam Habib
30 May 2013

The Marikana incident is a bitter moment for South Africa's new political establishment; a tragedy on the same scale as Sharpeville and the Soweto massacre.

This is how Prof Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal designate of the University of the Witwatersrand, described the sorrow during the CR Swart Memorial Lecture hosted by the Department of Political Studies and Governance.

Speaking on the topic The Post-Marikana landscape in South Africa, Prof Habib and Dawie Roodt, Chief Economist and Director of the Efficient Group, gave their views on the political and economic challenges confronting the country.

Prof Habib, a well-known political commentator, explained to the fully-packed CR Swart Auditorium how this tragedy provoked a national soul-searching.

Referencing from his highly-anticipated book South Africa's Suspended Revolution, Hopes and Prospects, Prof Habib said the difficulty Marikana poses is the challenge of inequality. According to him, inequality is the single biggest challenge of the South African society. He firmly believes that taking responsibility for poverty is a moral necessity. "Addressing poverty is absolutely crucial if we want to be a humane society."

In his presentation, Roodt informed the audience regarding recent data on population growth, unemployment and dependency ratios. These statistics gave an indication of how the country is doing. The economist said the only way to address unemployment, inequality and poverty is through economic growth.

"If we want to do something about inequality, we have to do something about skills – particularly skills for women. We must make it easier for people to get jobs," Roodt emphasised.

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