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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

Well-known alumni honoured
2013-10-24

 

From the left are: actor Hannes van Wyk, Judge Faan Hancke and his wife Benita at the Kovsie Alumni Awards.
Photo: Elmada Kemp
24 October 2013

The actor and film maker, Hannes van Wyk, known for his role as Krynauw du Boisson in the M-Net soapie Egoli, was named Kovsie Alumnus of the Year during the Kovsie Alumni Awards. He and six other former Kovsie students and staff were honoured at this gala event for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the UFS during 2012.

Van Wyk, who completed his BAEd in 1990 at the University of the Free State, was honoured for his contribution to, and development of the South African Film and Television industry. This includes his work as producer, writer, researcher and director of companies such as PACOFS, M-Net and the SABC.

The actor wasn’t the only person in the public eye to be celebrated at the event.

The well-known columnist, Hanlie Retief, who interviews the top newsmakers of the country every week for Rapport, was recognised with a Cum Laude Award. She was honoured in this category together with Paul Colditz, Chief Executive Officer of FEDSAS, the national representative organisation of governing bodies, and Judge Violet Phatshoane, founder of Phatshoane & Henney Attorneys and judge in the High Court of South Africa.

Hanlie told the audience that her degree from Kovsies opened doors for her. She spoke about the interview she had in those days with the athlete Zola Budd, her first story to be published in the university publication, Bult.

Prof Johan Willemse, who is internationally known as an agricultural economist, and Dr Philemon Akach, known for his contribution to the development of Sign Language on the continent, were bestowed with the Alumni Award for outstanding service to the UFS.

The Kovsie Ambassador Award was presented to Judge Faan Hancke, Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Law at the UFS. As a former Kovsie, he served more than 12 years as Council member during his career and is still involved with the Alumni Trust.

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