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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.


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Public lecture and book launch by Prof Adam Habib
2014-07-29

The Department of Philosophy in association with Wits University Press and The Southern African Trust invites you to a public lecture and book launch on Wednesday 30 July at 15:00 in the Albert Wessels Auditorium by one of South Africa’s leading political commentators, Prof Adam Habib (see biography below). Prof Habib will discuss questions such as whether the ANC has betrayed the ideals of the struggle, and whether social democracy offers an alternative for South Africa’s future.

After the lecture the English, Afrikaans, Sesotho and isiZulu editions of his latest book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects, will be for sale and light refreshments will be offered.

Translation services into Afrikaans and Sesotho will be available during his lecture and question time.

RSVP to Dirnel Casaleggio, casaleggiod@ufs.ac.za  

Short biography:
Prof Adam Habib is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). He has held leadership and academic appointments at the University of Durban-Westville, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (where he was founding director of the Centre for Civil Society), the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council. Habib is widely recognised as one of the authoritative commentators on South Africa’s democracy and its prospects for inclusive development and social democracy. His latest book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects has already made huge waves both locally and internationally. The book focuses on South Africa’s transition into democracy and its prospects for inclusive development.

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