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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

Local businesses challenged to join hands with NSH in raising funds for Mandela Day
2015-07-07

To celebrate Mandela Day, the No Student Hungry Bursary Programme (NSH) will host the first-of-its-kind “Extreme Challenge” in partnership with the Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival on the Bloemfontein Campus.  The competition will have businesses in Bloemfontein enter their staff teams to compete against other businesses, to help raise funds, and to celebrate the tradition of Mandela Day.

Date: 17 July 2015
Time: 11:00 - 16:30
Venue: Grass area at the back of the George du Toit building, Bloemfontein Campus

The NSH Extreme Challenge aims to raise awareness on food insecurity on all three of the UFS campuses. It will provide exposure for the bursary programme, and will get local businesses involved as potential long-term partners.

“The NSH Bursary Programme invests in potential, and supports academic achievers who come from challenging backgrounds,” says Vicky Simpson, co-ordinator of NSH. The NSH food bursary is awarded to students on the basis of financial need, academic excellence, and the commitment to serve the community, and has assisted more than 500 students since 2011.

The public and members of the UFS community are invited to come and support the teams and to bring non-perishable food items on the day to the George du Toit Building during the event, from 11:00 to 16:30. These donations will go towards assisting students on the NSH Bursary programme.

Registered teams:

Phatshoane Henney Attorneys
Parexel
UFS Centre for Accounting (2 Teams)
UFS Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support
UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice
UFS Protection Services
UFS Student Life (2 Teams)

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world- Nelson Mandela

For enquiries or to register your team contact:
Vicky Simpson
simpsonvz@ufs.ac.za

 

 

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