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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

‘I’d rather wake up at 8’clock for nothing than to sit at home’
2015-08-26


Tawanda Kaseke is on a mission to give back to the community one holiday at a time.

Studying towards a degree is one aspect of being a student. Investing time in worthwhile extra-mural activities forms a significant part of your student years. Tawanda Kaseke demonstrates how volunteering time to a good cause makes for a responsible student and citizen.

 

The second-year Public Administration student’s moral obligation to community development led him to spend approximately two months of his June 2015 holidays volunteering. Serving as a volunteer Admin intern at Afrika Tikkun’s ignited his aspiration to assist children from underprivileged communities to access education.

 

From cradle to career: a journey from infancy to varsity and beyond

 

Afrika Tikkun is a non-profit organisation (NGO) that works toward a future where today’s children and youth are tomorrow’s productive citizens. The NGO adopts a cradle-to-career model, which invests in the development of disadvantaged children from early infancy through young adulthood into the world of work.

 

Raising funds for the “Like Change” movement – a division of the “From Cradle to Career” project - is Tawanda’s primary objective for his November to February summer vacation.

 

Tawanda encourages social media users to contribute by clicking on the “Like” option on the ‘Like Change’ Facebook page.  A private company automatically donates R35 towards the education of an underprivileged child on your behalf.

 

Making your mark begins with a dot; university holidays are Tawanda’s dot. A passion for community development and a willingness to volunteer one’s time can go a long way in making South Africa a better place.

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