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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

Miss South Africa is a Kovsie
2014-03-31


Rolene Strauss
Images:
www.facebook.com/#!/MsSouthAfrica

“Rolene Strauss is an example of physical beauty, academic excellence and public duty coming together in one person,” said Prof Jansen.

Twenty-one-year-old Rolene Strauss, a third-year medical student at the University of the Free State (UFS), was crowned as Miss South Africa at a gala event at Sun City the weekend. Rolene was also the favourite on Twitter.

In her acceptance speech, Rolene said that she dearly loves South Africa. “This is where I can live, speak, learn and love freely. This is where my dreams come true. I am very proud of our country and shall always have a purpose here. It is such a privilege to represent our wonderful country. Our future is bright and I can’t wait to represent South Africa nationally and internationally,” Rolene said.

“My passion for health will definitely form a big part of my year, together with the initiatives of the sponsors,” she said.

Rolene said that Prof Jonathan Jansen, the Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, is an inspiration to her. “He stands up for what he believes in and enjoys what he is doing. He wants the best for his students and supports them in everything they do,” she said.

“Thanks to the support of the UFS and Prof Jansen, I am able to stop my studies for a year and continue after my Miss South Africa year. I am who I am today because of the people around me – and that definitely includes Kovsies. I see the university as a garden in which I can flower,” she said.

The university community is very proud of Rolene, and it is confirmed by Prof Jansen. “I am extremely proud of Rolene Strauss, for she has proved that physical beauty, academic excellence and public duty can come together in one person, and offer a powerful platform for transforming communities in need that would otherwise remain invisible, were it not for such a wonderful young role model,” he said.

On the year which lies ahead, Rolene said: “It will be a year during which I shall give back, say thank you and be a good example of the potential that especially women and South Africans may have in our country.”

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