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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

Madelief Residence bursts into colour
2014-03-12

You’ll be forgiven for thinking that your eyes are deceiving you when turning into the main entrance to the Bloemfontein Campus. Yet, it is still the graceful old lady of a building called Madelief. This 50-year-old female residence has donned a sparkling new ‘dress’, brandishing a trendy new look.

After extensive renovations kicked off during October last year, the long-awaited revamp left residents and Kovsies astonished. The makeover transformed the building into a sparkling gem, glistening in the Free State sun. Luminescent contra-vision windows, a remodelled veranda and a new façade propel this residence into modernity. A unique twist to the use of the façade is that it is reflective during both the day and night. During the daytime, the light reflects towards the residence and during the night it mirrors the entrance of the university. This feature lends an innovative and vibrant impression to the residence’s appearance.

“I’m so happy for my residence. It’s now the hub of attraction – everyone wants to visit and come have a look. Thanks to our Residence Head, the constructors and designers who came up with this concept and Housing and Residence Affairs. We look 50 years younger indeed and more vibrant,” Mamnosi Tshabalala, a senior resident at Madelief, beamed.

In celebration of this new phase of their residence, students plunged into a festival of colour – power paint exploding into rainbows over anyone who came near. Top management that attended the celebration could not escape the excitement. Profs Jansen and Morgan, Dr Wahl, Mr Koetaan and Rudi Buys were swept into the good cheer, snapping photos and making fantastic memories.

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