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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

Arts and Social Justice festival brings creativity and academia together
2013-08-28

 

Photo: Linda Fekisi
14 August 2013



Who really benefited from the post-1994 democratic dispensation in the sports arena? What happened to the heroes of non-racial sport? Did the 1992 transition to unification wipe out an entire history of black sport in rugby and replaced it with a sanitized version of the sport?

These are some of the questions film producer Mark Fredericks explores in his thought-provoking documentary film ‘Injury Time’. The film is one of several documentaries screened as part of the second annual Artistic and Social Justice Week, hosted by the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice from 19 to 31 August 2013.

Extended from last year's one-week run, this year’s programme is packed with great productions, exhibitions and intellectual encounters celebrating freedom of expression. A highly-anticipated event on the programme is the open-air film screening of the documentary 'Dear Mandela' on Friday 30 August. This film follows the journey of three young people from their shacks to the highest court in the country as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement.

Speaking at the opening of the festival, Prof André Keet, Director of the Institute, said the purpose of the two week programme is to explore new and different ways of understanding social relations. "It’s an endeavour which is crucial to the Institute's objective of confronting the histories, policies and practices that has shaped and constrained the intellectual and social mandate of universities across the country and world."



“The role of art and literature in reflecting on society, has overtaken – in terms of substance, quality and relevance – the function of critical commentators, political analyst, sociologists and philosophers. Artists are, simply put, better political commentators than political commentators themselves. Better political commentators than philosophers, better political commentators than political analysts. Uniquely positioned to engage with social reality, art and literature demand that we experience artistic work as political acts.” Prof André Keet

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