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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

Former CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation receives an honorary doctorate from the UFS
2015-07-08

Dr John Samuel.
Photo: Johan Roux

“Having spent the most of my life in public service, it is a great pleasure to receive recognition from the University of the Free State (UFS) for the work that I have done,” Dr John Samuel said in his acceptance speech at this year’s Winter Graduation, where an honorary degree was conferred on him.

The renowned educationalist’s remarkable merit was recognised by the Faculty of Education in the Thursday 2 July 2015 graduation ceremony. Dr Samuel was awarded the honorary doctorate for his enormous role as a national and international strategist in the education system.

The early 1960s proved to be a prelude to Dr Samuel’s lifelong journey as a teacher, policy analyst, administrator, and advisor. In addition to South Africa, he has served with compassion in various countries including Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the USA.

In the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, Dr Samuel served as Head of the Education desk, developing new policies for the field of education and training. One of his many pivotal achievements has been serving the Nelson Mandela Foundation as Chief Executive Officer. Furthermore, South African’s Department of Education has reaped the benefit of appointing him as the Deputy Director-General.

From 1998 to 2000, Dr Samuel was the Senior Programme Director of the WK Kellogg Foundation in the USA.

The Chief Executive Chairman of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls inspired graduates with warm words. “Graduation is a special time for everyone. It is now the time to convert what we have learnt into useful action. We need every pair of hands to help and inspire, and instill hope,” he said.

Rewarding the active role of a national and global leader in education symbolises the university’s commitment to public service, academic excellence, and transformation.


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