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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

Prof. Letticia Moja a winner in her category
2004-08-17

 

Prof. Moja a finalist in award 
'Every member of staff is important to me'

Michelle Cahill - Bloemnuus

IF you are in need of a dose of inspiration, try and get an appointment with Prof. Letticia Moja, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Science at the University of the Free State. It will not be easy as she has an extremely tight schedule, over and above being a finalist in the 2004 Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the Year competition.

 

Although not a born and bred Free Stater, this dynamic woman has come to love the Free State. "Once you get past the mindset of a small town and all the negatives surrounding it, it is an absolutely wonderful experience," Moja said.

Moja was born in Pretoria and grew up in Garankuwa as the second eldest of five children. "That was nothing special. I was not the eldest and I wasn't the youngest," she quipped. She had two younger brothers, one of whom died in a car accident and then two sisters.

She went to school in Pretoria and her first contact with the Free State was when she wrote her matric at Moroka High School in Thaba Nchu. "That was one of the best schools for us at that time," she says. After completing matric, she went on to study medicine in KwaZulu-Natal.

In 1982 she returned "home" and completed her internship at the Garankuwa Hospital. Hereafter she specialised in gynaecological obstetrics at Medunsa.

She became the head of the gynaecological obstetrics unit and later opened a branch in Pietersburg.

"This was just about the most heart-rending time of my life. You saw people travelling for up to three days just to see a doctor," she says. "Here we really interacted with the community."

In 2001 she was invited by the University of the Free State to apply for the job of vice-dean of the Faculty of Health Science. "I wasn't too keen," she says, "but they kept on calling to find out if I had applied or not," she says with a smile. "Eventually I gave in and was appointed."

She thought she would work a couple of years under Prof. Kerneels Nel, then the dean of the faculty. "Unfortunately that was not to be. I had hoped that I could learn from him," Moja says.

Prof. Nel died of a heart attack in 2003 after which Moja deputised for him before being appointed as dean.

"This brought along a whole newset of challenges," she says, "Now I have to work out budgets and I need to know what human resources are," she jokes. This has prompted her to take up her studies again and she is currently doing her MBA.

"It has certainly been a challenge to go into management and without my support structure I most certainly wouldn't have been able to do it," Moja says.

Moja is actively involved in her church and serves on various committees including the Health Professional Council where she is acting president of the Medical and Dental Board and the Provincial Aids Council.

To her no job is menial. She recalls when she used to have "high tea" with her staff in Gauteng and Limpopo. "One of the cleaning ladies used to think her job was menial. That is just not so. No hospital can do without even the lowest position. Imagine stepping over rubbish while you're trying to catch a baby. To me everybody is important no matter what you do. "

Moja's eldest daughter is studying for her B.Accounting degree at Wits . Her youngest daughter is in Gr. 9 at Eunice and she has also brought along her niece, who is in Gr. 8 at Eunice. "You see, we need to be three girls in the house."
She feels honoured to have been nominated by the institution especially as it is traditionally male-dominated. "It is not about me, but about the support structure. Nobody can do it on their own. It is a team effort."
BLOEMNUUS - VRYDAG 9 JULIE 2004

 

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