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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 Open Day a big success
2013-08-12

 

12 August 2013
Photo: RooistoelTV

   Open Day video clip (YouTube)

Thousands of learners in their colourful uniforms descended on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus to attend Open Day 2013.

This annual event enables learners and community members to know more about the study programmes that the campus offers as well as information regarding financial aid opportunities, sports and culture, health and wellness, residence life, amongst others.

During the formal welcome session, the learners were given a better understanding of what the university is all about.

Campus Principal Prof Prakash Naidoo gave the learners what he referred to as the top reasons why all the students in attendance would find it attractive to enrol with the Qwaqwa Campus in 2014.

“We have a diverse culture where everybody feels welcomed. We are also the fastest transforming university in the world. Our unique UFS101 learning programme teaches you about life in general. There’s no doubt that we have the best Vice Chancellor and Rector in Prof Jonathan Jansen,” Prof Naidoo said.

In encouraging learners to work harder in order to achieve the goals that they had set for themselves, Dr Elsa Crause, Campus Vice Principal: Academic and Research, emphasised on the importance of reading. “Reading and studying hard are important if you are to succeed in life. For you to achieve the best and to make your student life interesting, you must read as much as you write,” she said.

After the formal welcome session that included entertainment by students, the learners were ushered to various faculties and departments to give them first-hand experience of what it feels like to be a Kovsie.

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