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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

UFS celebrates Madiba’s legacy with coin-laying ceremony on 18 July 2013
2013-07-15

 

Photo: Johann Roux
08 July 2013

The University of the Free State (UFS) will once again join South Africans as well as the broader international community on Thursday 18 July 2013 in celebration of the enduring legacy of beloved former statesman, Nelson Mandela.

The UFS aims to stay true to the spirit of giving and selflessness epitomised by Mandela Day, focusing on the university community as well as the city of Bloemfontein.

This year’s event will strive to eclipse the success achieved during the 2012 event which featured Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as special guest.

The festivities on 18 July 2013 will kick off with university volunteers cleaning various areas of Bloemfontein. Departing from the Bloemfontein Campus at 09:00, the volunteers will clean areas in Heidedal and Mangaung with the help of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality.

In Heidedal, the volunteers will clean the crèche on the corner of Parish and Lackay roads as well as the old clinic on the corner of Parish and De Vries. In Mangaung, the volunteers will tackle the bustling Free Square on the Dewetsdorp road.

The larger celebration will take place on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus at 12:00. Long-time Madiba confidant, Zelda la Grange, will deliver a message, followed by a R5 coin-laying ceremony.

La Grange will be joined by the motorcycle riders affiliated to the Bikers for Nelson Mandela Day, OFM presenter Johrné van Huysteen who will conduct proceedings, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector Prof Jonathan Jansen as well as UFS students, staff, other dignitaries and special guests.

The programme also includes a lucky draw with winners standing the chance to win restored bicycles. Tickets can be purchased through Annelize Visagie at 051 401 3258 or at visagiea@ufs.ac.za. The winners will be announced during the ceremony on the Red Square.

All proceeds of the coin-laying ceremony and lucky draw will be contributed towards the university’s No Student Hungry (NSH) Programme.

The NSH Programme was established in 2011 to help ensure needy students are supplied with a food bursary which provides them with the necessary nourishment to excel in their academic studies. The initiative has since become a university-wide endeavour and currently serves more than 100 students daily on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses.

Rag Community Service will also cater for the specific needs which the harsh Free State winter causes – especially to the poor. Close to 500 blankets will be donated on Mandela Day to five different charities, including Mosamaria Aids Ministry, Choc House and Freshly Young Minds.

For further information, please contact Marissa van Jaarsveld on 051 401 3834 or at nostudenthungry@ufs.ac.za.

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