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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

Qwaqwa Campus: Student off to Germany
2004-04-01

Abey Tau will be traveling to Germany in mid- August to attend an international conference under the auspices of AISEC.
Born and bred in the dusty streets of Riverside in Phuthaditjhaba, an avid reader and student activist, Abey is rapidly ascending to greater heights.

He is presently studying towards completion of his B. Admin degree at the University of the Free State Qwaqwa campus and has also been to Switzerland in the recent past.

Describing the experience, Abey said “being away from home, the influence of culture, tradition, friendship and the local environment opened my eyes to another perspective that I did not know existed before I took a step looked out of my country and at it from another angle”. He believes it will be refreshing to interact with students from across the globe and share thoughts with them.

“Ability is what you are capable of doing, motivation determines what you do and attitude determines how well you do it” Tau said, beaming confidence and enthusiasm. When the opportunity to visit Germany presented itself, he approached the office of the Coordinator of Student Affairs for assistance. Communication with the Office of the Vice Rector, Dr. Ezekiel Moraka led to the realization of Abey’s dream when funds were acquired to assist him. He will become an ambassador for his organization, the university and the country at large. We are therefore proud and wish him well.

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