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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

Little change in load shedding schedules
2015-07-25

According to Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer at the University of the Free State, there are few or no changes to the load shedding schedules for the rest of July 2015; daily power cuts by Eskom are a given.

To stay up to date with the latest load shedding schedules, visit GridWatch’s webpage at http://loadshedding.news24.com.

Once classes have started again, lecturers should plan as if load shedding is a given. Venues without emergency power supply should not be reserved during scheduled load shedding.

The university is working hard to equip venues with emergency power. Check the list of venues already equipped with emergency power.

The following tips may help to manage load shedding in the classroom:

  1. For your lectures: Carry a laptop with your slides (or have hard copies). In this way, you can teach students, even if you cannot project your slides.
  2. In the event of load shedding, in venues equipped with emergency power, you will be able to continue with classes. All electronic equipment, except for air conditioners, will switch to emergency power, and there should be no problems ? lectures should be continued as normal.
  3. If emergency power is not available in an academic venue, and the lecturer is unable to continue without electronic equipment, he/she may dismiss the class.

Please contact the office of the Student Academic Services on +27(0)51 401 7345 to reserve a venue for an ad hoc class. The helpline for academic venues from Monday to Friday between 07:45 and 16:30 is +27(0)51 401 7911. Protection Services can be contacted on +27(0)51 401 2911 for after-hours assistance.

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