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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

First university student from Elzabé Zietsman’s Doilie Foundation chooses Kovsies
2015-01-21

Naledi Dweba and Elzabé Zietsman
Photo: Johan Roux

Naledi Dweba, one of the young people mentored by the well-known singer, Elzabé Zietsman, will become a Kovsie this year.

Although the University of the Free State (UFS) wasn’t the only university to offer Dweba a scholarship, he decided on Kovsies without doubt or further consideration and enrolled for his BMus degree with us. His instrument is the clarinet and Dweba reckons the outstanding Danré Strydom – a lecturer at the UFS’s Odeion School of Music – is the reason why he decided on Kovsies.

“She is a remarkable music teacher,” says Dweba.

Dweba, who only started with music lessons at the age of 15, recently performed his Grade 8 exam. Last year he also obtained a music distinction in matric.

Dweba and Zietsman met four years ago and, as a result of her Doilie Foundation, he now has the opportunity to pursue his dreams as a music student. Zietsman started the foundation in 2012 in order to help talented children.

“I have so many talented young people under my care, but Naledi is the first one to attend university,” Zietsman said at the university’s 2015 first-year’s welcoming on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The Doilie Foundation currently provides for several artistic children – from musicians to ballerinas. 

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