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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

UFS International Studies Group makes history come alive globally
2015-07-15

The UFS International Studies Group comprises students who are top achievers drawn from South Africa, Southern and Central Africa and even further afield.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Headed by Prof Ian Phimister, the UFS International Studies Group comprises six master’s, twelve PhD and twelve postdoctoral fellows who concentrate their research endeavours on African, Imperial and Global History. All of these students are top achievers drawn from South Africa, Southern and Central Africa and even further afield. This group, now only in its third year, presents a phenomenal research output with an international reach.

In the course of the past year alone, five PhD students secured fully-funded invitations to conferences and research seminars in South Africa, Britain, as well as the Netherlands. Our researchers have been publishing articles globally and securing visiting fellowships and research awards.

Dr Clement Masakure and Dr Rosa Williams won funding to present papers at the International Network for the History of Hospitals. Tinashe Nyamunda won a prestigious three-month Cadbury Fellowship at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Anusa Daimon has been selected as a 2015 Harry Guggenheim award winner, which covers workshop attendance in Nairobi, Kenya.

From among the group, twelve articles have been published or accepted for publication in refereed scholarly journals, as well as four chapters in edited books. Book reviews written by these highly-motivated graduate students, have appeared or will appear in leading national and international academic journals. Remarkably, seven book reviews appearing in one particular issue of African Studies Review, were written by this group. Four scholarly monographs have recently been published, or soon will be. One PhD student is the joint editor (with a senior Canadian academic) of a forthcoming study on Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange diamond mining industry.

Another outstanding researcher, Dr Lindie Koorts, won the award for the best debut writer at the 2014 Woordfees for her book ‘DF Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism’ – the first non-fiction writer to achieve this. Her book now appears on the longlist for the 2015 Alan Paton Award.

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