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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

Reitz colleagues start their own company
2014-07-01

The University of the Free State (UFS) and the five colleagues implicated in the Reitz incident of 2008 reached the final chapter in the reparation process in restoring the dignity of these colleagues on Thursday 19 June 2014.

Mr Mothibedi Molete and Mss Mankoe Naomi Phororo, Emmah Koko, Nkgapeng Adams and Sebuasengwe Mittah Ntlatseng, former cleaning staff at the UFS, are now the directors of their own cleaning company, Mamello Trading.

Furthering on its promise to assist the new-found company, the UFS has also appointed Mamello Trading as a service provider responsible for services at its South Campus.

It has been six years since the Reitz incident at the UFS and Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations, described the journey of the past six years as a learning experience for all the stakeholders.

“This journey continues as there is still work to be done, but every milestone achieved, deserves a celebration like today’s,” Dr Makhetha said.

In 2010 the UFS signed a deed of settlement with the colleagues which committed the UFS to help them establish a cleaning company. This was followed by a reconciliation ceremony in 2011.

In 2012 the UFS assisted with the registration of the company Mamello Trading.

Dr Makhetha explained that in 2013 the UFS assisted in training the new directors and mentoring them for 12 months. 

Earlier this year, Mamello Trading signed a cleaning contract of four years with the UFS. Three of the directors’ daughters also received bursaries and are currently studying at the UFS.

Advocate Mohamed Ameermia, Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, congratulated the management of the UFS on the reparation and reconciliation process they followed in restoring the dignity of the five colleagues.

The directors of Mamello Trading each had a special message of their journey and thanks. Their messages were as follows:

Rebecca Adams – After the video was exposed, I was hurt and was psychologically affected. By offering their apologies to us, the four students indicated that what they had done was a mistake. As a parent, when a child apologises you must accept that apology.
Emma Koko – I was shocked after the video was shown in public. I had a mother-child-like relationship with one of the students and that video tarnished my image as a human being. During the time of reconciliation these students showed remorse for what they had done.
David Molete – I was devastated, hurt and fearful to meet people. I ended up at a psychiatric hospital and attended counseling services which helped me to heal. The students apologised and I accepted because they were sincere.
Mittah Ntlaseng – The video impacted negatively on my dignity. The UFS assisted us with visits to psychologists. Now I feel I am a business owner and it is an opportunity for me to rebuild my self-esteem. 

Naomi Phororo – Mamello Trading is a business venture which is going to bring changes to our lives and families. The training I have received has enabled me to know how to manage the business.

 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27(0)51 401 2584
Fax: +27(0)51 444 6393
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

  

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