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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

Winter Graduation spreads a glow of pride
2014-07-03

 

The 2014 Winter Graduation spread a glow of pride across our Bloemfontein Campus.

During the first session on Wednesday 2 July, the School of Open Learning conferred 612 diplomas and certificates.

Hazel Motsoeneng, District Director of Motheo in the Department of Education in the Free State, offered a powerful message to the graduates. “Teaching today is about reaching learners. The world of the future will not be changed because of the money you made, or the car you drove. The world of the future will be changed because you touched a child’s life.”

She reminded the graduates that “teaching is still a labour of love.”

Stafford Masie, the former general manager of Google South Africa, addressed 473 graduands on day two of the graduation ceremony.

“If you want to grow as an individual, realise that there are more people outside your immediate environment than inside that can help make you a better person. Take the opportunity and get exposed,” Masie said.

He added a few bits of advice:
• Be unique, don’t just follow others’ creations.
• The focus is no longer on me, me, me, but on we, we, we.
• You have the opportunity and the skills set. Don't just do things, do great things.
• True innovation happens when people are having fun.
• Work on stuff that really matters.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, conveyed a special message to the graduates. “Getting a higher degree comes with high expectations of who you are and how you conduct yourself. A higher degree at Kovsies means that you are a better person, not only because you received a qualification, but also because of your human capacity to love and embrace.” 




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