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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

National Science Week – today's science, tomorrow's world
2014-07-30

 
For the 2014 National Science Week, the university – in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – celebrate this country-wide event at our South Campus. For one week each year, universities, schools and science centres across South Africa highlight the role that science plays in everyday life. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Today’s Science, Tomorrow’s World.’

Over 4 000 learners, educators, parents and dignitaries converged at the campus on Saturday 2 August 2014 to experience science at work. The day featured an array of exciting science activities, including a sky-viewing opportunity at the nearby Boyden Observatory.

“Every aspect of life is touched by science. And with more vibrancy in the approach to teaching maths and science, great potential can be unlocked among young people – impacting on quality of life in the future,” said Dr Choice Makhetha, the Vice-Rector of the University of the Free State.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, also spoke at the event. "Our success depends on whether our country is ready to harness the advantage of large numbers of young people who are able and willing to work. This is where the provision of education becomes an important resource in ensuring that our young people are well prepared and equipped with knowledge and skills to handle life."

Events such as the National Science Week, Minister Pandor said, were aimed at boosting interest in scientific and technological development and innovation. This, in turn, helps the country transform into a knowledge-based economy. 


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