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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

Golden Key International Honour Society swells it ranks with Kovsie students
2013-08-28

 

Golden Key honorary member, Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, with Stefan Gericke, Chapter Relations Officer of Golden Key International Honour Society.
Photo: Sonia Small
28 August 2013

Kovsie students continue to swell the ranks of the world’s biggest academic honour society, the Golden Key International Honour Society, with more than 500 students from the university becoming new members.

The UFS chapter of the society – who only welcomes the top 15% of academic students at the university – inducted the new members at a ceremony held on Saturday 24 August 2013 on the Bloemfontein Campus.

In addition, the organisation also pays recognition to those who act as role models to these students. Thus, the organisation also inducted Profs Odireleng Ntwaeaborwa, Dave Lubbe, Dennis Francis, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and executive chairperson of Richmark, Gavin Varejes as honorary members.

Prof Dave Lubbe delivered the keynote speech entitled “From intellectual leader to real leader – few ideas”, structuring his talk around five key points: wisdom, basics, over specialization, ethnical leadership and courage.

“The society aims to make students realise their potential and create a network for excelling students,” said Mbavhalelo Rammbwa; Golden Key UFS Chapter president.

Parents from as far as Limpopo came to show appreciation for their children’s dedication to their studies. “I am really happy not only for my daughter, but for every single student who has been inaugurated to the society this morning for their discipline, hard work and the dedication they show their studies. I thank Prof Jonathan Jansen, the lectures and academics for inspiring our children to study and make the most of the opportunity which we didn’t have,” said Mpho Mohoje, a parent of one of the students at the induction.

Another feather in the university's cap is the fact that UFS registrar, Dr Derek Swemmer is not only co-advisor of the chapter, but also the chairperson of the society’s international governing body.

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