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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

“To interpret is more than the ability to have mastered two languages”
2014-03-27

 

It is equally unfair to the accused as the victim when an untrained court interpreter is used in a court case.

In South Africa there are currently a large percentage of interpreters employed by the Department of Justice without any formal training.

While interpreting is in reality a very complex subject, the general acceptance is that everybody who is able speak two languages or more can be an interpreter.

This perception harms interpreting as a profession, as it results in most institutions appointing any multilingual person as an interpreter.

In many cases people are used to interpret into and from their third or fourth language (of which Afrikaans is one). This leads to inaccuracy and the incorrect use of expressions and terminology. Specific cognitive processes also have to be developed and practiced.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has since 2008 trained approximately 200 court interpreters in South Africa. This training includes the theory of interpreting and practical exercises, as well as the development of terminology and a basic knowledge of the legal system in South Africa.

The training provided to court interpreters by the Unit for Language Management and Facilitation, is done in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and SASSETA (Safety and Security).

Apart from Afrikaans, native speakers of all South African languages are included in the training.

Much attention (rightfully) are given to interpreters who can interpret between the nine African languages and (mostly) English, but in the process the development of interpreters between Afrikaans and English was neglected, as became apparent in the past two weeks during the Oscar Pistorius case.


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