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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

TEDxUFS conference - the highlight of the university’s innovative calendar
2015-08-11


Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance with co-organisers of TEDxUFS Bonginkosi Leeuw and Lerothodi Molete after his inspirational talk at the event.
Photo: Curtis Nhlamulo Mashimbye

This year’s TEDxUFS speaker lineup persuaded the audience unanimously to question the nature of reality. The Albert Wessels Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus was packed with about 200 attendees on Saturday 1 August 2015.

Speakers shared a multiplicity of profound theories and inquisitions, challenging society in general to think out of the box. Melody Mentz, Gil Oved, Ricardo Peach, Pamela Nomvete, Pepe Marais, Mmusi Maimane, Brian Kally, Pieter Geldenhuys, Philippa Tumubweinee, Gareth Cliff, and Angelo Mockie took on to the stage to tackle multidisciplinary concepts as part of the broad ‘Ask Why’ theme.

Innovation mouthpieces share their worldview

Pieter Geldenhuys, the internationally-renowned futurist and Director of the Institute for Technology Strategy, and Innovation proposed that we change our mindsets by neglecting predictability. “We need to look at different models to understand the world around us,” he said. He challenged the linear and familiar ways humans make sense of the universe.

Speaking to the dire need for transformation, Philippa Tumubweinee suggested that university spaces merge with the communities they serve in terms of policies, social atmosphere, and physical structure. Tumubweinee is a senior Lecturer at the Department of Architecture at our university, and co-Founder and Director of Izuba In Africa architects.

“Only we can give permission to be intimidated; so don’t give in,” said Brian Kally, the CEO of Arrow Logistics (Pty) Ltd. Kally underscored the power of believing in our individual ideas.

Guidelines from TEDxUFS organisers

Bonginkosi Leeuw: “If you take your brainchild and implement it, and make it a reality, that’s when you can achieve great things, not before that.”

Lerothodi Molete: “You should ask questions; the moment you ask the question you will understand more.”

Real-time social media feedback

These are some of the comments audience members published on Twitter at the event:

IG: mispertanzy ?@MiesperTanzy  Aug 1

A huge shout-out to @TEDxUFS for hosting such a great conference!The team has really made the event an unmissable one on the UFS calendar.

Celebrabitur? ?@HatsuMphatsoe  Aug 1

Proximity that allows us to experience our broader society. Truly engaged by Philippa Tumbweinee's talk! @TEDxUFS

TEDxJohannesburg ?@TEDxJoburg  Aug 1

A big shoutout to @TEDxUFS from for a fantastic event. Wish we were there.

RicardoPeach ?@ricardopeach  Aug 1

Africa is rich with potential  #TEDXUFS @MmusiMaimane Yes!

 

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