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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

Women’s Memorial Garden exudes the essence of women
2013-08-05

 

Photo: Stephen Collett
20 August 2013

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Female staff of the university gathered on Thursday 8 August 2013 in a pre-celebration of Women’s Day. An atmosphere of indulgence enveloped the Women’s Memorial Garden with smartly-dressed waiters serving high tea to the group while a string trio provided soothing melodies.

Beneath this luxurious backdrop, though, ran a deep and sincere current of kinship. The three speakers – women from diverse age groups and backgrounds – all had one clear message: love. Being a woman is being love – in all its various forms: from being tender to standing up for what is right.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, reflected on the 20 000-strong women’s march in 1956 to the Union Buildings. Using this example, he expressed his wish for the women of South Africa to unite once again across race and creed to the benefit of our country.

Not only did a sense of courage and strength permeate the celebration, but the group dispersed with the beat in their hearts: you strike a woman, you strike a rock.

The university has several more celebratory events planned for Women’s Month. The program line-up is as follows:

16 August 2013 – for women students,
23 August 2013 – for women secretaries and admin staff,
30 August 2013 – for women in cleaning services,
date in August to be confirmed – for women in academics.

 

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