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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

Protecting women and children - top on the agenda for women in law
2015-02-24

Judge Soma Naidoo
Photo: Hanno Otto

The Faculty of Law in collaboration with the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) hosted a gala dinner with the theme: ‘Protect a woman, protect a child’ on 14 February 2015 at the UFS Centenary Complex.

In attendance were leading South African women judges and members of the IAWJ’s Justices: Halima Sulduker of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Connie Mocumi of the Free State High Court, and Soma Naidoo of the Free State High Court . The UFS was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Caroline Nicholson and other senior faculty members. The keynote address was presented by Prof Beatri Kruger.

The title of the keynote speech, ’Killing human trafficking in South Africa: chaos, challenges and celebrations’, was inspired by the extensive research which Prof Kruger has been doing over recent years on human trafficking. “Human trafficking is not just another crime; it is complex, multi-layered and extends over international borders and continents. It is often disguised and has many faces –from trafficking for labour to sexual exploitation; mutilation of body parts, forced marriages, drug couriering; the list is endless. New forms of human trafficking are revealed continuously,” she said.

‘Protect a woman, protect a child’ (read the full story)

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